Thoracic Duct-to-Pulmonary Vein Shunt in the Treatment of Experimental Right Heart Failure
Elevated venous pressure in right heart failure leads not only to an increase in lymph formation but also to progressive resistance in the neck to the return of lymph to the circulation via the thoracic duct. Sequestration of fluid behind the failing heart tends to protect the circulation but at the same time leads to the clinical manifestations of heart failure.
The present study was performed on 40 dogs with combined tricuspid insufficiency and pulmonary stenosis. Thoracic duct lymph flow was greatly increased. Pressure was considerably greater in the systemic veins than in the pulmonary vein beyond the right heart obstruction. Lymph flow was substantially enhanced when the thoracic duct was connected to the lower pressure pulmonary veins. Furthermore, direct anastomosis of the thoracic duct to the pulmonary vein resulted in fall in systemic venous pressure, increase in renal excretion of salt and water, and reduction in ascites. These results indicate that alterations in the flow of thoracic duct lymph have important bearing on the manifestations and treatment of right heart failure.
- © 1967 American Heart Association, Inc.