The relationship between effective blood volume and related hormones in burn patients following resuscitation is not well understood. Previous reports have suggested that hormone secretion is altered by a resetting of neural control mechanisms. Serum and urine sodium, plasma renin activity, serum ADH, cardiac index, effective renal plasma flow, and total blood volume were measured in seven burn patients (mean age, total burn size, and postburn day: 32 years, 56%, and 9 days, respectively). The same values (with the exception of cardiac index and blood volume) were measured in 10 control patients (mean age, 24 years). The blood volume of patients was measured by 51chromium red blood cell (RBC) labeling and compared to normal predicted values based on body surface area and sex. Mean serum sodium and osmolality were 138 mmol/L (millimolar) and 286 mosm/kg, respectively, in both patients and control subjects. Mean ± standard error of the mean total blood volume in the patients was low, 81% ± 4% of predicted values. Cardiac index and renal plasma flow were significantly elevated. Plasma renin activity and antidiuretic hormone (ADH) levels were elevated and altered in the direction expected from blood volume measurements despite the findings of increased blood flow. Dissociation of organ flow and hormonal response suggests that simultaneous direct blood volume measurements are necessary to elucidate factors other than altered neural control settings to explain hormonal changes in the flow phase of injury. Depressed total blood volume appears to promote elevated ADH levels in burn patients following resuscitation. Whether there is an additional role of altered neural control settings remains to be established.
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