MANY ASPECTS of the hemodynamics of the portal circulation remain unresolved. A clearer understanding of the portal circulation may contribute to our knowledge of hepatic function and gastrointestinal physiology and could perhaps shed some light on the circulatory changes associated with hepatic cirrhosis. It must be recognized, however, that significant anatomical and physiological differences exist among different species of experimental animals and man. Consequently, assumptions based on research data obtained from animal experiments must be interpreted with care as we seek answers applicable to human patients with hepatic disease.
Peters et al1 studied the effect of splanchnic nerve stimulation in anesthetized dogs during acute experiments. These authors demonstrated a twofold increase in portal pressure and a rise in portal oxygen saturation following electrical stimulation of the right or left splanchnic nerves, the celiac plexus, or the periarterial nerve plexus surrounding the hepatic artery.
The present study was carried out