Assessment of lung edema by gravimetrical analysis is a standard method to evaluate the severity of experimentally induced ischemia/reperfusion (IR) injury. The aim of this study was to compare gravimetrical assessment of pulmonary edema with a stereological approach which allows for qualitative and quantitative distinction between intravascular and edematous fluids by light microscopy. Eight experimental groups which differed in mode of preservation, ischemic storage and pharmacological treatments were studied in an extracorporeal rat lung model. Analysis of the pooled data showed that the wet/dry ratio values mainly reflected the amount of intra-alveolar edema (r(s) = 0.442; p = 0.0057) but only stereological assessment of edema formation revealed differences depending on the treatment used. Only stereological data correlated significantly with oxygen tension measured at the end of reperfusion (r(s) = -0.530; p = 0.0009). We conclude that gravimetry is of minor functional importance compared to assessment by stereological methods which prove to be a reliable and efficient tool for the evaluation of IR injury in the different experimental settings.
Copyright 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel