Respiratory, cardiovascular, and metabolic adjustments to hypoxemia during sleep in piglets.


The influence of sleep on ventilation, metabolic rate, cardiovascular function, and regional distribution of blood flow during hypoxemia (PaO2 of 45-50 mm Hg (1 mm Hg = 133.3 Pa)) was studied in piglets at 6+/-1 and 34+/-5 days (mean+/-SD). Measurement of ventilation and metabolic rate was done in a metabolic chamber, and blood flow was measured using the microsphere technique. A subgroup of animals was instrumented for cardiac output measurement (dye-dilution technique) and continuous monitoring of the hemoglobin saturation in oxygen (SaO2). We found that although sleep did not influence the metabolic and cardiac output response to hypoxemia, it affected the ventilatory response as well as the brain and the respiratory muscle blood flows. During active sleep in the older animals, the ventilatory response to hypoxemia was smaller than in the other two states; marked drops in SaO2 occurred with changes in the breathing pattern; and that state was associated with the highest rate of brain blood flow. As well, age affected the ventilatory and metabolic response, but not the cardiovascular response to hypoxemia. The age-dependent ventilatory changes with hypoxemia (smaller ventilatory response in the young than in the older animals) were related to the different levels of oxygen consumption. In summary, active sleep was responsible for all the sleep-dependent changes in the response to a moderate degree of hypoxemia.


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