Effects of profound anemia on brain tissue oxygen tension, carbon dioxide tension, and pH in rabbits

Yasuhiro Morimoto, Mali Mathru, Julian F. Martinez-Tica, Mark H. Zornow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This study sought to determine the maximum tolerable limit of anemia for the brain during halothane anesthesia. Using a multiparameter sensor, we continuously monitored brain tissue oxygen tension (PO2), carbon dioxide tension (PCO2), and pH during profound hemodilution and subsequent transfusion. Twelve New Zealand White rabbits were anesthetized, intubated, and mechanically ventilated at a fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) of 21% to produce an arterial carbon dioxide tension (PaCO2) of 35 to 40 mm Hg. The femoral artery was cannulated to continuously monitor arterial blood pressure and to intermittently measure arterial blood gases. The electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded throughout the course of the study. A fiberoptic sensor was inserted into the brain for the continuous measurement of brain PO2, PCO2, pH, and temperature. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) was measured by the hydrogen clearance method. Severe anemia was induced by repeatedly withdrawing 50-mL aliquots of blood and infusing an equal volume of 6% hetastarch. This procedure was performed four times for each rabbit. After the forth blood draw and fluid infusion, a total of 60 mL of packed red blood cells were transfused. Upon completion of the hemodilution, the hemoglobin concentration was 2.4 ± 0.3 g/dL (mean ± SEM). Brain tissue PO2 decreased from 27 ± 3 mm Hg to a minimum of 12 ± 2 mm Hg. Brain tissue pH also decreased from 7.22 ± 0.03 to 7.12 ± 0.05 and returned to the baseline value with transfusion. Brain PCO2 did not change significantly during the experiment. Cerebral blood flow increased from 37 ± 3 to 66 ± 15 mL × 100g-1 × min-1 during hemodilution and returned to baseline after infusion of red blood cells. There was some loss of EEG amplitude and the calculated cerebral metabolic rate (CMRO2) decreased from 4.3 ± 0.6 to 1.9 ± 0.3 mL × 100g-1 × min-1 at the most profound level of anemia. This is the first report of which the authors are aware of continuous monitoring of brain tissue pH, PCO2, and PO2 during profound hemodilution and transfusion. Hemodilution results in a decrease in brain tissue PO2. Increases in CBF and oxygen extraction can only partially compensate for the decreased oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. Decreases in brain tissue PO2, pH, CMRO2, and a loss of EEG amplitude suggest that the maximum tolerable limit of hemodilution was achieved in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Brain tissue PO
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Cerebral metabolic rate
  • Hemodilution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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