Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage - Etiology - High Pulmonary Blood Pressures

High Pulmonary Blood Pressures

The most widely accepted theory at present is that high transmural pressures lead to pulmonary capillary stress failure. Pulmonary capillary transmural pressure is determined by pulmonary capillary pressure and airway pressure. The horse has very high pulmonary vascular pressures during intense exercise; commonly exceeding 100mmHg in the pulmonary artery during intense exercise. During expiration the high positive pressures in the pulmonary blood vessels pushing out are opposed by high positive airway pressures pushing back and this does not place undue stress on the thin blood vessel walls. During inspiration the high positive pressures in the pulmonary blood vessels pushing out are met by negative pressures distending the blood vessel and placing increased stress on the walls. Studies in vitro have demonstrated that significant disruption of the pulmonary capillaries occurs at pressures of approximately 80 mmHg. In vivo it has also been shown that significant EIPH occurs above a mean pulmonary artery pressure of around 80-95 mmHg. On the basis of this theory, any factor or disease that would increase pulmonary vascular pressures (e.g. hypervolaemia) or increase the magnitude of the negative pressures in the lung during inspiration (e.g. dynamic upper airway obstruction) would be expected to increase the severity of EIPH. But neither experimentally induced laryngeal hemiplegia nor dorsal displacement of the soft palate increased pulmonary capillary transmural pressure.

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