Loss of a major portion of lung tissue has been associated with impaired exercise capacity, but the underlying mechanisms are not well defined. We studied the alterations in gas exchange during exercise before and after left pneumonectomy in three conditioned foxhounds. After pneumonectomy, minute ventilation and O2 consumption at comparable submaximal work loads were unchanged but arterial PCO2 at any work load was higher, implying that ventilatory response to CO2 was impaired. Arterial hypoxemia and an elevated alveolar-arterial O2 tension difference (AaDO2) developed during heavy exercise. Using the multiple inert gas elimination technique, we determined the distributions of ventilation-perfusion (V̇A/Q̇) ratios postpneumonectomy. Significant increase in V̇A/Q̇ inequality developed during exercise while the foxhounds were breathing room air, accounting for an average of 42% of the total increase in AaDO2 while diffusion limitation accounted for 58%. While the animals were breathing hypoxic gas mixture, diffusion limitation accounted for an average of 88% of the total increase AaDO2. Cardiac output and O2 delivery were reduced at a given O2 consumption after pneumonectomy. After pneumonectomy, the animals reached O2 consumptions close to the maximum expected for normal dogs. Compensation for the impairment in O2 delivery post-pneumonectomy occurred mainly by an increase in hemoglobin concentration. Training probably played an important role in returning exercise capacity toward prepneumonectomy levels. We conclude that significant abnormalities in gas exchange develop during exercise after loss of 42% of lung tissue, but the animals demonstrate a remarkable ability to compensate for these changes.
- diffusion limitation
- oxygen transport
- ventilation-perfusion inequality
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)