Gerbino, A. J., S. McKinney and R. W. Glenny. Correlation between ventilation and perfusion determines VA/Q heterogeneity in endotoxemia. J Appl Physiol. 88:1933-42., 2000.
Endotoxin increases ventilation-to-perfusion ratio (VA/Q) heterogeneity in the lung, but the precise changes in alveolar ventilation (VA) and perfusion that lead to VA/Q heterogeneity are unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine how endotoxin affects the distributions of ventilation and perfusion and the impact of these changes on VA/Q heterogeneity. Seven anesthetized, mechanically ventilated juvenile pigs were given E. coli endotoxin intravenously, and regional ventilation and perfusion were measured simultaneously by using aerosolized and injected fluorescent microspheres. Endotoxemia significantly decreased the correlation between regional ventilation and perfusion, increased perfusion heterogeneity, and redistributed perfusion between lung regions. In contrast, ventilation heterogeneity did not change, and redistribution of ventilation was modest. The decrease in correlation between regional ventilation and perfusion was responsible for significantly more VA/Q heterogeneity than were changes in ventilation or perfusion heterogeneity. We conclude that VA/Q heterogeneity increases during endotoxemia primarily as a result of the decrease in correlation between regional ventilation and perfusion, which is in turn determined primarily by changes in perfusion.