Forces governing fluid exchange across vessels

At the end of the nineteenth century, Starling described the physical forces governing transvascular fluid filtration. His observations were simple but crucial. In his experiments, he observed that hemorrhage produced a decrease in hematocrit. He assumed that hypotension induced extravascular fluid reabsorption which resulted in hemodilution. However, for similar degrees of hypotension, reabsorption was significantly less when plasma rather than crystalloid was placed in the interstitium. He concluded that the forces governing transvascular fluid exchange included not only the difference in hydrostatic pressure across the vessels, but also the difference between intravascular and extravascular protein concentration.

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