Recent investigations have shown that volume loading and alterations in body fluid osmolality cause rapid shifts throughout the body's fluid compartments in the adult dog. The lymph system has been found to be a vital link in the body's ability to compensate for excess fluid, and thus provides a strong defense against edema formation (Brace and Power, 1981; 1983). There have been no previous studies dealing with the investigation of whole-body lymph flow responses in the newborn. The purpose of this experimental research was to perform a systematic study into the whole-body lymph responses of newborn lambs to the particular variables of volume loading and variation in the osmolality of infused fluids.

Ten lambs, ranging in age from 1 to 12 days, were randomly divided into two groups, with five lambs in each group. Lymph flow from the thoracic duct was measured continuously while intravenous infusions of isotonic, hypertonic, and hypotonic saline were introduced in amounts equal to 2 percent of the total body weight. The infusion sequence was reversed in Group 2, i.e., isotonic, hypotonic, and hypertonic, respectively. Additional experimental variables such as hematocrit, lymph and plasma protein concentrations, and arterial and venous pressures were recorded at the same time.

This study showed that lymph flow doubled above the preinfusion control baseline following the initial volume loading with isotonic saline. Following the hypertonic infusion, lymph flow increased further by approximately 1.5 times above the isotonic level. Conversely, lymph flow responded to hypotonic saline infusions by increasing approximately 1.3-fold above the previous level.

Further findings indicated that the infused volume caused a rapid dilution of the red blood cells and plasma proteins, especially after the hypertonic solution. It was concluded that the hypertonic solution was the most effective stimulant for shifts in body fluid volumes, particularly regarding the interstitial fluid and lymph volumes.

This study also compared the excess lymph flow related to the change in interstitial fluid volume between newborn lambs and the adult dogs in a previous study by Brace and Power (1983). The findings suggest that newborns have an inherently higher baseline lymph flow than adults, and they exhibit a higher lymph flow response to fluid overload. This relatively high lymph flow in the newborn may be an important factor in the body's defense against edema.

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

Clarice W. Woodward

Second Advisor

Gordon G. Power

Third Advisor

Lois Van Cleve

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Lymphatic System; Edema -- prevention & control; Sheep -- physiology



Page Count

viii; 55

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

Included in

Nursing Commons