The effects of changes in abdominal pressure (Pab) on inferior vena cava (IVC) venous return were analyzed using a model of the IVC circulation based on a concept of abdominal vascular zone conditions analogous to pulmonary vascular zone conditions. We hypothesized that an increase in Pab would increase IVC venous return when the IVC pressure at the level of the diaphragm (Pivc) exceeds the sum of Pab and the critical closing transmural pressure (Pc), i.e., zone 3 conditions, but reduce IVC venous return when Pivc is below the sum of Pab and Pc, i.e., zone 2 conditions. The validity of the model was tested in 12 canine experiments with an open-chest IVC bypass. An increase in Pab produced by phrenic stimulation increased the IVC venous return when Pivc-Pab was positive but decreased the IVC venous return when Pivc - Pab was negative. The value of Pivc - Pab that separated net increases from decreases in venous return was 1.00 +/- 0.72 (SE) mmHg (n = 6). An increase in Pivc did not influence the femoral venous pressure when Pivc was lower than the sum of Pab and a constant, 0.96 +/- 0.70 mmHg (n = 6), consistent with presence of a waterfall. These results agreed closely with the predictions of the model and its computer simulation. The abdominal venous compartment appears to function with changes in Pab either as a capacitor in zone 3 conditions or as a collapsible Starling resistor with little wall tone in zone 2 conditions.
- Copyright © 1990 the American Physiological Society