Pleural pressure changes during exercise do not affect measurement of mean pulmonary vascular pressures


Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, 601 Vernon L Tharp Street, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.


This study was designed to evaluate the influence of pleural pressure on mean pulmonary vascular pressures in exercising horses. Pulmonary artery (Pa), pulmonary wedge (Pw) and oesophageal pressures (Pes) were measured with transducer tip catheters in 6 Standardbred horses at rest and during treadmill exercise at 75, 90 and 100% of maximal heart rate. Oesophageal pressure (Pes) measurements were used to estimate pleural pressure. Vascular pressures were determined in 4 ways: 1) mean transmural vascular pressure (Ptm) at Pes equal to resting end expiratory pressure; 2) mean Ptm at Pes equal to mean Pes for the data collection period; 3) mean Ptm without selection of specific data points and 4) mean pulmonary vascular pressure relative to atmospheric pressure (conventional method). Despite large fluctuations associated with breathing, mean Pes during exercise remained close to zero, suggesting that pleural pressure fluctuates equally about zero. The swings in Pes were associated with approximately equal swings in vascular pressure so that, despite the marked fluctuations, mean Pa and Pw determined with the 4 methods were not significantly different. The results indicate that during exercise it is valid to report mean pulmonary vascular pressures without accounting for the fluctuations in pleural pressure.