Applied Respiratory Physiology by J. F. Nunn (Auth.)

By J. F. Nunn (Auth.)

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The broken horizontal lines indicate the FRC in each of the three groups and the corresponding point on the abscissa indicates the resting intrathoracic pressure at FRC. (Redrawn from Finucane and Colebatch, 1969) Principles of measurement of compliance 41 FRC in relation to closing capacity In Chapter 3 (page 62) it is explained how reduction in lung volume below a certain level results in airway closure with relative or total underventilation in the dependent parts of the lung. The lung volume below which this effect becomes apparent is known as the closing capacity (CC).

Intrathoracic pressure is usually measured as oesophageal pressure which, in the upright subject, is different at different levels. 3 g/ml). , 1964). 2 kPa (2 c m H 2 0 ) above the neighbouring intrathoracic pressure. Alveolar pressure equals mouth pressure when no gas is flowing and it cannot be measured directly. Static compliance. In the conscious subject, a known volume of air is inhaled from FRC and the subject then relaxes against a closed airway. The various pressure gradients are then measured and compared with the resting values at FRC.

In terms of compliance, the diaphragm simply transmits pressure from the abdomen which may be increased in obesity, abdominal distension and venous congestion. Posture clearly has a major effect and this is considered below in relation to FRC. Ferris (1952) suggested that thoracic cage compliance was 30 per cent greater in the seated subject. Lynch, Brand and Levy (1959) found the total static compliance of the respiratory system to be 60 per cent less when the subject was turned from the supine into the prone position: much of this difference is likely to be due to the diminished elasticity of the rib cage and diaphragm in the prone position.

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