A Window with a View of the Water

  • E. N. C. Milne


All organs in the body — with one singular exception, the lungs — are radiodense and their intra and extravascular fluid content cannot be visualized on plain films. Conventional angiograms, and CT or MRI angiography can reveal the intravascular volume in all organs but none of these techniques can differentiate between intra and extravascular water. In contrast, the air content of the lungs outlines with excellent clarity, not only the pulmonary vascular bed (from which we can derive pulmonary blood volume), but also the largest systemic vessels in the body (the “vascular pedicle” described below), from which we derive the intravascular systemic blood volume and the vascular and bronchial walls (from which we can derive the pulmonary extravascular volume). The lungs therefore act as a translucent window through which we have an excellent view of
  1. 1.

    Pulmonary intravascular water (pulmonary blood volume)

  2. 2.

    Pulmonary extravascular water (pulmonary oedema, pleural effusions)

  3. 3.

    Systemic intravascular water (systemic blood volume)

  4. 4.

    Systemic extravascular water (soft tissue oedema, ascites)



Pulmonary Blood Flow Vascular Pedicle Left Atrial Pressure Azygos Vein Circulate Blood Volume 
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© Springer-Verlag Italia, Milano 1996

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  • E. N. C. Milne

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