Background: Blood conservation strategies and transfusion guidelines remain a heavily debated clinical topic. Previous investigational trials have shown that acute isovolemic hemodilution does not limit adequate oxygen delivery; however, a true critical hemoglobin level has never been investigated or defined due to safety concerns for human volunteers. Validated physiologic modeling may be useful to investigate hemodilution at critical hemoglobin levels without the ethical or safety hazards of clinical trials. Our hypothesis is that HumMod, an integrative physiological model, can replicate the cardiovascular and metabolic findings of previous clinical studies of acute isovolemic hemodilution and use coronary blood flow and coronary oxygen delivery in extreme hemodilution to predict a safety threshold.
Methods: By varying cardiovascular and sizing parameters, unique individuals were generated to simulate a population using HumMod, an integrative mathematical model of human physiology. Hemodilution was performed by simultaneously hemorrhaging 500 mL aliquots of blood while infusing equal volumes of hetastarch, 5% albumin balanced salt solution, or triple volumes of lactated Ringer's solution over 10 minutes. Five hemodilution protocols reported over 3 studies were directly replicated with HumMod to compare and validate essential cardiovascular and metabolic responses to hemodilution in moderately healthy, awake adults. Cardiovascular parameters, mental status, arterial and mixed venous oxygen content, and oxyhemoglobin saturation were recorded after the removal of each aliquot. The outputs of this simulation were considered independent variables and were stratified by hemoglobin concentration at the time of measurement to assess hemoglobin as an independent predictor of hemodynamic and metabolic behavior.
Results: The published reports exhibited discrepancies: Weiskopf saw increased heart rate and cardiac index, while Jones and Ickx saw no change in these variables. In HumMod, arterial pressure was maintained during moderate hemodilution due to decreases in peripheral resistance opposing increases in cardiac index. HumMod showed preserved ventilation through moderate hemodilution, compensated for by an increased oxygen extraction similar to the studies of Jones and Ickx. The simulation results qualitatively followed the clinical studies, but there were statistical differences. In more extreme hemodilution, HumMod had a lesser increase in cardiac index, which led to deficiencies in oxygen delivery and low venous saturation. In the simulations, coronary blood flow and oxygen delivery increase up to a critical hemoglobin threshold of 55-75 g/L in HumMod. In this range, coronary blood flow and oxygen delivery fell, leading to cardiac injury. The allowable amount of hemodilution before reaching the critical point is most closely correlated with nonmuscle mass (r = 0.69) and resting cardiac output (r = 0.67).
Conclusions: There were significant statistical differences in the model population and the clinical populations, but overall, the model responses lay within the clinical findings. This suggests our model is an effective replication of hemodilution in conscious, healthy adults. A critical hemoglobin range of 5.5-7.5 g/L was predicted and found to be highly correlated with nonmuscle mass and resting cardiac output.