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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Acute respiratory acidosis decreases left ventricular contractility but increases cardiac output in dogs.

To understand the cardiovascular response to respiratory acidosis, we measured hemodynamics, left ventricular pressure, and left ventricular volume (three ultrasonic crystal pairs) during eucapnia and respiratory acidosis in 10 fentanyl-anesthetized open-chest dogs. Left ventricular contractility was assessed primarily by measuring the slope (Emax) and intercept (V0) of the left ventricular end-systolic pressure-volume relation determined by combining end-systolic points from a vena caval occlusion and from brief aortic cross-clamping. Respiratory acidosis (pH 7.09, Pco2 92 mm Hg) reduced contractility by a decrease in Emax (11.4 to 9.2 mm Hg/ml, p less than 0.01) with no change in V0. Despite this, cardiac output increased (1.7 to 2.1 l/min, p less than 0.01), and heart rate increased (96 to 121 beats/min, p less than 0.05), with no change in blood pressure. Systemic vascular resistance fell by 26% (p less than 0.01). During eucapnia, propranolol reduced Emax (11.4 to 4.6 mm Hg/ml, p less than 0.01) with no change in V0. After propranolol treatment, respiratory acidosis further reduced Emax (4.6 to 3.6 mm Hg/ml, p less than 0.05) and increased end-systolic volume more than before propranolol (p less than 0.001). Now cardiac output did not increase even though heart rate increased (81 to 106 beats/min, p less than 0.001) and systemic vascular resistance fell by 20% (p less than 0.01). We conclude that the effect of respiratory acidosis on the circulation is to increase venous return (equals cardiac output) in the face of decreased left ventricular contractility. The beta-adrenergic response to respiratory acidosis substantially ameliorated the increase in end-systolic volume and supported the increase in venous return but did not alter the associated tachycardia or vasodilation. Respiratory acidosis, like propranolol treatment, decreases contractility by decreasing Emax.[1]


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