The peritoneal cavity discovered all over again as a 3rd lung

What’s old is new all over again. From the pages of the

The peritoneum as a novel oxygenation organ:

revitalization of intraperitoneal oxygenation.

Matsutani N, Takase B, Nogami Y, Ozeki Y, Ishihara M, Maehara T.


Department of Surgery II, National Defense Medical College, Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan.


Supplemental oxygenation is important in reversible pulmonary failure. To determine whether the peritoneal cavity can be used as a source of “extrapulmonary respiration,” we perfused the peritoneal cavity with oxygenated red blood cells (RBCs) and saline, and measured the amount of oxygenation delivered through the peritoneum of dogs under controlled ventilation. Inflow and outflow catheters were placed in the peritoneal cavity and connected to a perfusion circuit. We investigated the safety of this procedure by examining the relationship between intraperitoneal infusion volume and hemodynamic changes in dogs that underwent peritoneal perfusion with oxygenated RBC (n = 6) and with oxygenated saline (n = 6). The controls comprised dogs that underwent a sham operation (n = 6). We found that an intraperitoneal infusion of less than 1,250 mL was hemodynamically safe. Oxygenation levels (PaO2) increased most obviously with an intraperitoneal infusion of oxygenated RBC. The peritoneum can potentially serve as an “artificial lung” in critically ill patients.

September 30, 2008


While not specifically related to the Lung usage of the peritoneal cavity, here is a link to an article from the BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL  from 8 DECEMBER 1973, dealing with specifics of the “original” novel use of the cavity, that is, for its use in continuous ambulatory dialysis.

Four Years’ Experience with Indwelling Silastic Cannulae
for Long-Term Peritoneal Dialysis

British Medical Journal, 1973, 4, 596-600
Indwelling silicone rubber cannulae have been used for peritoneal dialysis in 41 uraemic patients for periods of up to 46 months. The simplicity of this treatment is particularly suited to patients awaiting transplantation.


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