The Measurement of Fluid Filtration in Human Limbs

  • C. C. Michel
  • C. Moyses
Part of the Developments in Cardiovascular Medicine book series (DICM, volume 59)


Fluid filtration from blood to the tissues becomes conspicuous only when there is some disorder of microvascular or lymphatic function. Normally the volume of the interstitial fluid fluctuates around a constant value with net filtration of fluid from the blood over some periods being matched during other periods by net reabsorption of fluid into the blood and clearance by the lymphatics. When there is a disorder of microvascular function, however, the tissues swell rapidly. The disorder may be increased vascular permeability to fluid and macromolecules which may or may not be accompanied by inappropriate microvascular pressures. In some conditions, however, an increased microvascular permeability is suspected but frank oedema does not develop because the local mechanisms in the microcirculation reduce the forces responsible for fluid filtration and promote clearance of tissue fluid by the lymphatics. In these conditions where increased permeability is suspected and in others where oedema is present, it would be useful for the clinician to have a method for making a quantitative estimate of microvascular permeability which could be related to fluid filtration and hence to the tendency for oedema to develop. The capillary filtration capacity would seem to meet this requirement (1). To appreciate its significance let us first consider the principles which determine microvascular fluid filtration.


Filtration Rate Capillary Pressure Cuff Pressure Capillary Wall Lymph Flow 
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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishing, Boston 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. C. Michel
    • 1
  • C. Moyses
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology & BiophysicsSt Mary’s Hospital Medical SchoolLondonUK

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