Frank Sylvester, Ph.D.


Renal arteries supply blood to the kidneys and at any given moment receive 20-25% of the cardiac output. This high rate of blood flow is critical to renal function and is directed by changes in blood vessel diameter (7). In this experiment, different gases were used within a hyperbaric chamber to treat arteries obtained from porcine kidneys. Hyperbaric therapy involves breathing or administering gases while in a sealed chamber that has been pressurized up to 1.5 times atmospheric pressure to deliver more gases to the tissues of the body. It has been studied and used for a number of health-related applications such as carbon monoxide poisoning, severe anemia, burn injuries, skin grafts and organ storage. This study aims to characterize the changes in renal artery vascular reactivity following acute hyperbaric treatment. In order to evaluate the treatment’s effectiveness, porcine segmental renal arteries were dissected, exposed to 26 psi of hyperbaric gases, and then mounted in isolated, oxygenated hot water baths coupled to force transducers. Changes in vascular reactivity (i.e. the ability of blood vessels to change diameter as a means of regulated blood flow) will be measured in response to phenylephrine, a vasoconstrictor, and sodium nitroprusside, a vasodilator. It is hypothesized that the results of this study will provide insight into the effects of hyperbaric treatment on segmental arteries.