Absorption of various inert gases from subcutaneous gas pockets in rats

A study was made of absorption of the inert gases, helium, argon, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur hexafluoride, nitrous oxide, and cyclopropane, from subcutaneous gas pockets in rats breathing oxygen. For interpretation of the data a method of analysis was devised which permitted distinction between perfusion and diffusion as factors limiting the absorption rate. Application of this method to the experimental data leads to the conclusion that both perfusion and diffusion limitation were effective in determining the absorption rates of the inert gases, diffusion limitation being the more important factor. The blood flow responsible for the uptake of inert gas from the gas pocket, and the thickness of the tissue layer between blood and pocket gas could be crudely estimated.

Submitted on October 9, 1961