Changes in hepatic blood volume in response to rapid elevations in hepatic venous pressure were examined in cats using hepatic plethysmography. The liver was intact and received blood from an intact portal vein and hepatic artery. The hepatic blood volume increased in response to elevated venous pressure. Compliance of the hepatic capacitance vessels became greater as the distending venous pressure was increased over the range of venous pressures studied (0-9.4 mmHg). When hepatic venous pressure was elevated to 9.4 MMHg, the hepatic blood volume more than doubled. The liver serves as an important buffer for rapid changes in blood volume, the importance increasing with greater infused volumes of fluid. While overall venous compliance decreased at distending pressures in excess of 5-6 mmHg, the compliance of the hepatic capacitance vessels shows marked increases at pressures above this level. Expansions of the blood volume results in elevations of central venous pressure. Within a few minutes the hepatic capacitance vessels sequester a significant proportion of the added volume. As long as central venous pressure is raised, the liver demonstrates a secondary fluid buffering role by filtering large volumes of fluid across the vascular bed into the peritoneum.
- Copyright © 1976 by American Physiological Society