Hemodynamic Alterations Caused by Passive Changes in Body Position in Dogs with Chronic Atrial Septal Defects
The effects of passive tilting on the circulatory pressures and on the magnitude of shunts across chronic atrial septal defects were studied in 11 dogs with closed chests. These determinations were performed with the dogs in four positions: 45-degree head-up, 45-degree head-down, right lateral decubitus, and left lateral decubitus. Control values were obtained with the animals in the supine horizontal position.
The 45-degree head-up tilt position was associated with an increase in the magnitude of the right-to-left shunt detected after injections of indicator into the inferior vena cava, while change from supine to the 45-degree head-down tilt resulted in a decrease or disappearance of a pre-existing right-to-left shunt detected after similar injections. These effects on the right-to-left shunt were not demonstrable after injections of indicator into the superior vena cava, either during the head-up or head-down tilt, in spite of identical alterations in circulatory pressures. A significant interanimal correlation between the magnitude of the changes in systemic or right atrial pressures and the magnitude of the changes in right-to-left shunts could not be demonstrated. Passive changes in posture from supine to 45-degree head-up or head-down positions were not associated with demonstrable systematic effects on the magnitude of the left-to-right shunts. It is postulated that the descent of the heart and diaphragm during the head-up tilt results in a closer anatomical relation between the ostium of the inferior vena cava and the defect in the atrial septum and consequently an increase in the preferential shunting of inferior caval blood through this defect. In these animals, changing the body position from the supine to the right lateral decubitus position was consistently associated with an increase in the magnitude of the left-to-right shunts across the atrial septal defect and an increase in pulmonary blood flow. Since these animals have preferential shunting of blood from the right lung in the left-to-right direction, it is believed that the increase in blood flow through the dependent right lung is responsible for the observed increase in the left-to-right shunt. The left lateral decubitus position was not associated with appreciable effects on pulmonary blood flow or left-to-right shunting of blood across the atrial septal defect.
- Received August 3, 1961.
- © 1962 American Heart Association, Inc.