We have detected acetone in several brands of heparin. If uncorrected, this leads to errors in measuring acetone in blood collected in heparinized syringes, as in the multiple inert gas elimination technique for measuring ventilation-perfusion ratio (VA/Q) distributions. Error for acetone retention [R = arterial partial pressure-to-mixed venous partial pressure (P-V) ratio] is usually small, because R is normally near 1.0, and the error is similar in arterial and mixed venous samples. However, acetone excretion [E = mixed expired partial pressure (P-E)-to-P-V ratio] will appear erroneously low, because P-E is accurately measured in dry syringes, but P-V is overestimated. A physical model of a homogeneous alveolar lung at room temperature and without dead space shows: the magnitude of acetone E error depends upon the ratio of blood sample to heparinized saline volumes and acetone partial pressures, without correction, acetone E can be less than that of less soluble gases like ether, a situation incompatible with conventional gas exchange theory, and acetone R and E can be correctly calculated using the principle of mass balance if the acetone partial pressure in heparinized saline is known. Published data from multiple inert gas elimination experiments with acetone-free heparin, in our labs and others, are within the limits of experimental error. Thus the hypothesis that acetone E is anomalously low because of physiological mechanisms involving dead space tissue capacitance for acetone remains to be tested.
- Copyright © 1985 the American Physiological Society