We compared by non-invasive technique the adaptive response of alveolar capillary network to edemagenic conditions (exercise and high altitude [HA, PIO2 107mmHg] in subjects with different resting sea level (SL) capillary blood volume (normalized to alveolar volume, Vc/Va): Group 1 (N=10, Vc/Va=16.1±6.8ml/L- mean±SD) and Group 2 (N=10, Vc/Va=25±7.7). In Group 1 Vc/Va remained unchanged in HA at rest and increased during exercise at SL (26.3±8.6) and HA (28.75±10.2); in Group 2 Vc/Va significantly decreased in HA (19±6) and did not increase in exercise at SL and HA. We hypothesize that Group2 exerts a tight control on Vc/Va being more exposed to the risk of lung edema due to inborn greater microvascular permeability. Conversely, Group 1 appears more resistant to lung edema given the large capillary recruitment in the most edemagenic condition. The 4-fold increase in frequency dependence of respiratory resistance in Group2 in HA stems for greater proneness for lung water perturbation compared to Group 1.
Keywords: High altitude pulmonary edema; Lung diffusion; Lung ultrasound; Microvascular filtration; Respiratory impedance.
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