Kenner T, H Leopold, H Hinghofer-Szalkay

The continuous high-precision mesaurement of the density of flowing blood

Pflügers Arch. 1977; 370: 25-9

The 'mechanical oscillator' technique for the measurement of the density of fluids is based on the influence of mass on the natural frequency of a mechanical oscillator. The practical application of this principle was worked out by Kratky et al. (1969) and Leopold (1970).

It is demonstrated in this study that the method permits the continuous high-precision measurement of the density of flowing blood in anesthetized animals. The accuracy is 10(5) g/ml, the maximum sampling rate 20/min. As found in rabbits and cats during the control state, physiological blood density changes related to spontaneous blood pressure variations are up to 2-10(4) g/ml.

The method can be combined with i.v. injections of isotonic and iso-oncotic solutions to determine cardiac output and blood volume on the basis of a 'density dilution' principle. Since the density of the interstitial fluid is lower than that of blood, fluid shifts through the capillary walls can be detected. The effects of hypertonic glucose and of hyperoncotic dextran have been examined.

Changes in the density of the arterial blood appear within 10 s after i.v. injection of these fluids. Similarly, density changes result from hemorrhage and reinfusion. During and after i.v. administration of vasoactive drugs (noradrenaline, angiotensin II, acetylcholine), marked transient changes in blood density are seen which obviously reflect the effects of fluid shifts through the capillary walls. During hemorrhagic hypotension we found periodic variations in the blood density synchronous with spontaneously occurring Mayer waves.

The new method seems to be a promising tool for investigations physiological and pathological capillary fluid dynamics.