A carbon monoxide 'single breath' method to measure total haemoglobin mass: a feasibility study.Exp Physiol. 2021 02; 106(2):567-575.EP
What is the central question of this study? Is it possible to modify the CO-rebreathing method to acquire reliable measurements of haemoglobin mass in ventilated patients? What is the main finding and its importance? A 'single breath' of CO with a subsequent 30 s breath hold provides almost as exact a measure of haemoglobin mass as the established optimized CO-rebreathing method when applied to healthy subjects. The modified method has now to be checked in ventilated patients before it can be used to quantify the contributions of blood loss and of dilution to the severity of anaemia.
Anaemia is defined by the concentration of haemoglobin (Hb). However, this value is dependent upon both the total circulating haemoglobin mass (tHb-mass) and the plasma volume (PV) - neither of which is routinely measured. Carbon monoxide (CO)-rebreathing methods have been successfully used to determine both PV and tHb-mass in various populations. However, these methods are not yet suitable for ventilated patients. This study aimed to modify the CO-rebreathing procedure such that a single inhalation of a CO bolus would enable its use in ventilated patients. Eleven healthy volunteers performed four CO-rebreathing tests in a randomized order, inhaling an identical CO volume. In two tests, CO was rebreathed for 2 min (optimized CO rebreathing; oCOR), and in the other two tests, a single inhalation of a CO bolus was conducted with a subsequent breath hold of 15 s (Procnew 15s) or 30 s (Procnew 30s). Subsequently, the CO volume in the exhaled air was continuously determined for 20 min. The amount of CO exhaled after 7 and 20 min was respectively 3.1 ± 0.3 and 5.9 ± 1.1 ml for oCOR, 8.7 ± 3.6 and 12.0 ± 4.4 ml for Procnew 15s and 5.1 ± 2.0 and 8.4 ±2.6 ml for Procnew 30s. tHb-mass was 843 ± 293 g determined by oCOR, 821 ± 288 g determined by Procnew 15s (difference: P < 0.05) and 849 ± 311 g determined by Procnew 30s. Bland-Altman plots demonstrated slightly lower tHb-mass values for Procnew 15s compared with oCOR (-21.8 ± 15.3 g) and similar values for Procnew 30s. In healthy volunteers, a single inhalation of a CO bolus, preferably followed by a 30 s breath hold, can be used to determine tHb-mass. These results must now be validated for ventilated patients.