The effects of haemorrhage in the unanaesthetized rabbit

J. P. Chalmers, P. I. Korner, S. W. White

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26 Citations (Scopus)


1. The circulatory response following acute loss of 26% of the blood volume was examined in unanaesthetized rabbits. The groups of animals studied were normal rabbits; adrenalectomized rabbits; animals subjected to prolonged treatment with guanethidine in which peripheral adrenergic nerve transmission is blocked, but which can reflexly liberate adrenal medullary hormones; animals subjected to combined adrenalectomy and guanethidine treatment with no functional adrenergic effectors; in each case with or without administration of atropine. The responses of animals with section of the carotid sinus and aortic nerves were also examined. 2. The spontaneous rate of replacement of the blood volume after haemorrhage by reabsorption of extravascular fluid was the same in all the above preparations, the blood volume returning to normal 3‐4 hr after bleeding. 3. The ‘passive’ effects of haemorrhage were examined in animals without functioning autonomic effectors and include a large fall in right atrial pressure and cardiac output, arterial hypotension, no significant change in total peripheral resistance, and a bradycardia of gradual onset. Reflex autonomic effector activity in normal animals minimizes the fall in atrial pressure, cardiac output and arterial blood pressure, and produces a significant increase in total peripheral resistance and tachycardia. Increased sympathetic nerve activity and secretion of adrenal medullary hormones each play an important and complementary part in the normal circulatory response to haemorrhage of the rabbit. There is also reflex reduction in vagal efferent activity. 4. Reflexes from the carotid sinus and aortic arch limit the fall in arterial pressure for the first 4 hr after haemorrhage. These reflexes also account for the tachycardia normally observed after haemorrhage. The baroreceptor reflexes rather than the chemoreceptors appear to be dominant in these responses. 5. Twenty‐four hours after haemorrhage the haemodynamic pattern is similar in all preparations irrespective of their autonomic effector status: blood volume, right atrial pressures and cardiac outputs are all elevated, and the arterial pressure has virtually recovered, consistent with the development of hypervolaemic anaemia at this time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-391
Number of pages25
JournalThe Journal of Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1967
Externally publishedYes


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