Allergic bronchoconstriction may be associated with hemodynamic alterations due to changes in respiratory mechanics (or the associated changes in arterial blood gas composition) or the cardiovascular effects of chemical mediators. In an attempt to differentiate between these two possible mechanisms, we obtained measurements of hemodynamics, respiratory mechanics, and O2 consumption (V̇o2) in nine asymptomatic adult ragweed asthmatics before and after inhalation challenge with either ragweed extract or methacholine. We measured specific airway conductance (sGaw) by body plethysmography, pleural pressure and an esophageal balloon catheter, pulmonary blood flow (Q̇) and V̇o2 by a rebreathing technique, and heart rate. For a similar degree of bronchoconstriction after the two types of challenge (mean ± SD sGaw 0.06 ± 0.03 and 0.05 ± 0.02 cmH2O-1·s-1, P = NS), mean Q̇ increased by 29 and 29%, and mean V̇o2 by 33 and 37% 15-20 min after ragweed and methacholine, respectively. Since heart rate did not change, there was a concomitant increase in mean stroke volume by 25 and 35%, respectively (P < 0.05). The respiratory pleural pressure swings during quiet breathing and the rebreathing maneuver and the work of breathing during rebreathing also increased to a similar degree after the two types of challenge. These observations suggest that, if chemical mediators are released into the circulation during antigen-induced bronchoconstriction, their blood concentrations are too low for appreciable cardiovascular effects. The increase in rebreathing cardiac output during allergic and nonallergic bronchoconstriction is probably due to increases in intrathoracic pressure swings and in the work of breathing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)