Bronchial blood flow was determined in five adult anaesthetised sheep by the video dilution technique. This is a new fluoroscopic technique for measuring blood flow that requires only arterial catheterisation. Catheters were placed into the broncho-oesophageal artery and ascending aorta from the femoral arteries for contrast injections and subsequent videotape recording. The technique yields bronchial blood flow as a percentage of cardiac output. The average bronchial artery blood flow was 0.6% (SD 0.20%) of cardiac output. In one sheep histamine (90 micrograms) injected directly into the bronchial artery increased bronchial blood flow by a factor of 6 and histamine (90 micrograms) plus methacholine (4.5 micrograms) augmented flow by a factor of 7.5 while leaving cardiac output unchanged. This study confirms the high degree of reactivity of the bronchial circulation and demonstrates the feasibility of using the video dilution technique to investigate the determinants of total bronchial artery blood flow in a stable animal model avoiding thoracotomy.
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