An increased hematocrit could enhance peripheral O2 transport during exercise by improving arterial O2 content. Conversely, it could reduce maximal delivery of O2 by limiting cardiac output during exercise or by limiting the distribution of blood flow to peripheral capillaries with high O2 extractions. We studied O2 transport at rest and during graded treadmill exercise in splenectomized tracheostomized dogs at normal hematocrit (38 ± 3%), and 48 h after transfusion of type-matched donor cells. This procedure increased hematocrit (60 ± 3%) but also increased blood volume (P < 0.05). Following transfusion, resting cardiac output (Q̇T) and heart rate were not different. During exercise, Q̇T was significantly lower at each level of O2 consumption (V̇O2) at high hematocrit (P < 0.01). A reduction in Q̇T was also seen during polycythemic exercise with hypoxemia produced by breathing 12 or 10% O2 in N2. Despite the reduction in Q̇T, mixed venous PO2 was not lower at high hematocrit, and the increase in base deficit with VO2 was not different from control measurements. O2 delivery (Q̇T x arterial content) was similar at each level of V̇O2 at both levels of hematocrit, during both normoxic and hypoxic studies. Both systemic and pulmonary arterial pressures were increased at rest after transfusion (P < 0.05). However, pulmonary and systemic pressures were not higher than control during exercise at high hematocrit. We conclude that a hematocrit of 60% with increased blood volume is not associated with a cardiac limitation of O2 delivery, nor does it interfere with peripheral O2 extraction during exercise in the dog.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)