Acidification of plasma by the red cell due to radiographic contrast materials.
The effect of water-soluble radiographic contrast material on pH when added to blood in clinical dosages in vitro or when used in vivo for diagnostic purposes was examined. Contrast material caused a reduction of blood pH. The mechanism of this occurence was found to be the balancing of the negative charge of intracellular organic anions by the extracellular anionic contrast material molecules. The normal negative potential of about 10 mV across the red cell membrane was reduced, nullified, or reversed depending on the concentration of contrast material added to blood. As the inside of the cell became more positive with respect to the outside, protons were, in effect, repelled into plasma, although the apparent exodus of protons occurs by the generation and outward diffusion of carbon dioxide. Since the acidemia is dependent on rehydration of carbon dioxide in plasma, a reaction measured in seconds, the site of injection and transit time of dye will contribute to the pH of the plasma during passage through a regional capillary bed. We speculate that an alteration in membrane potential and/or the acute acidemia may contribute to the adverse effects of contrast material, particularly on tissues dependent on membrane electrical rhythmicity such as the myocardium.
- Copyright © 1975 by American Heart Association