Clearance of lung edema into the pleural space of volume-loaded anesthetized sheep

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1990 Jun;68(6):2623-30. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1990.68.6.2623.


To determine whether lung edema leaks into the pleural space, we measured flow rates of visceral pleural liquid from exposed sheep lungs during volume loading and then compared the protein concentration of visceral pleural liquid and lung interstitial liquids (lymph and peribronchovascular cuff liquid). For 4 h, we volume loaded 24 anesthetized ventilated sheep with one side, both sides, or neither side of the chest open. During the experiment, we collected visceral pleural liquid from a bag surrounding the exposed lung and lung lymph; after the experiment, we collected peribronchovascular cuff liquid. We found that during volume loading visceral pleural liquid flow increased significantly by 2 h, and its protein concentration over the final hour was the same as that of lung interstitial liquids. The volume of visceral pleural liquid correlated with excess lung water and wedge pressure elevation. By our estimates, clearance of edema from the lung into the pleural space constituted 23-29% of all edema liquid collected, similar to measured lymph edema clearance. We conclude that edema liquid leaks directly from edematous sheep lungs into the pleural space and that this leakage provides an important additional route of edema clearance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Lymph / physiology
  • Pleura / pathology
  • Pleura / physiopathology*
  • Pleural Effusion / pathology
  • Pleural Effusion / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Edema / pathology
  • Pulmonary Edema / physiopathology*
  • Sheep