• Hemodilution-induced reductions of the intravascular protein concentration in patients and experimental animals with intact capillaries do not lead to pulmonary edema, despite significant increases in the amount of extravascular water in the systemic interstitial space. The protective factors are a drop in the extravascular concentration of protein, a rise in interstitial tissue pressure, and an increase in lymph flow. If the capillary endothelium is damaged, protein leaks into the extravascular space, and protein infusion has a diminished effect on fluid exchange across the capillary. Whether capillaries are intact or injured, prevention of increases in capillary hydrostatic pressure is the most important factor in preventing pulmonary edema. Administration of hypertonic fluids may provide a useful method of limiting total fluid infusion and reducing cell swelling after blood loss.
(Arch Surg 1981;116:1293-1298)