Pulmonary physiology

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These concepts are reviewed throughout inpatient and outpatient rotations. Fellows are also responsible for holding a formal weekly physiology case review session for rotating chest service second-year residents. Learn more about the pulmonary physiology research at this laboratory. Throughout your fellowship, you have access to experts in the field of environmental lung disease. We also offer opportunities in asthma, airways, and the environment research. Through this program, you gain exposure to inpatients and outpatients with cystic fibrosis CF and non-CF bronchiectasis.

A regional symposium with fellow involvement is hosted by NYU Langone each year, as are numerous patient education projects. You may also choose to do a year of research in bronchiectasis, NTM lung disease or cystic fibrosis. Under the direction of Daniel H. Sterman, MD , our division director, a multidisciplinary thoracic oncology program is being developed that includes interventional procedures and research related to the care of patients with thoracic oncologic disease.

The human respiratory system has a remarkable ability to adapt to many different environmental demands. Recently, recreational sports have pushed the limits of adaptive physiology. Traveling to high altitude low pressure is now common and many adaptive physiological mechanisms have been defined. Altitude-related clinical syndromes develop when environmental conditions exceed the ability to adapt. Acute mountain sickness is a frequent occurrence in high-altitude travel and is usually self-limited.

High-altitude pulmonary edema and high-altitude cerebral edema are much less commonly encountered and can cause significant morbidity and even mortality. A variety of medications exist to prevent and treat these conditions, but descent to lower altitudes remains the mainstay of therapy. Similarly, the study of breathhold divers has led to a greater understanding of physiological adaptations at high pressure.

An important mechanism of lung compression with increased pressure is achieved through central shunting of peripheral blood flow. The increased pulmonary blood flow then allows for greater alveolar gas exchange, which has important implications for duration of breathhold and, indirectly, depth of dive achievable. Finally, the study of breathhold divers, particularly elite divers, has improved our understanding of respiratory drive and provided significant evidence that a diving reflex exists in humans. The authors review the physiological mechanisms that allow the respiratory system to adapt to extreme alterations in atmospheric pressure.

Address correspondence to: Laurie A. E-mail: laurie. You may be trying to access this site from a secured browser on the server. Please enable scripts and reload this page. The total lung capacity is then determined by measuring a deep inhalation from RV inspiratory capacity and adding that to the residual volume already measured Fig.

A plethysmograph is an airtight box of known volume, similar to a telephone booth, in which a patient sits. A mouthpiece connects the patient to air outside the apparatus and pressure sensors are located within the box and within the breathing capacity. At the end of a normal tidal breath, a shutter on the mouthpiece closes and the subject is asked to make respiratory efforts.

As the subject tries to inhale, the volume of the lung expands slightly while the pressure drops due to the chest lung expansion Fig. Thus FRC can be obtained. The body plethysmograph measures the total volume of compressible gas, including any that is trapped behind closed or poorly communicating airways. The other two methods measure only volumes based on gas communicating with and open to airways.

This is not an issue in normal subjects, but in diseased lungs considerable amounts of gas are trapped and do not communicate freely.

Pulmonary Physiology

Therefore the FRC values differ depending on methodology. The value of FRC can be underestimated if significant parts of the lung communicate poorly or not at all with the inspired oxygen As a subject breathes from a spirometer with a known concentration of helium, after several normal breaths the helium concentration in the lung and spirometer equilibrate Fig.


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During the equilibration period oxygen is added to the spirometer and carbon dioxide is absorbed. Although many other measurements of lung function are perhaps more useful, knowledge of the lung volumes is essential in other complex measurements such as diffusing capacity. Given the challenges with measuring the diffusing capacity of the lung for oxygen, carbon monoxide as originally used by Marie Krogh in is used for current day measurements. There are at least seven variations of this method that have since been developed.

Both helium and carbon monoxide are inhaled. After a period of breath hold 15 s , the alveolar portion of the exhaled gas is collected and the concentration of carbon monoxide and helium is measured. The initial alveolar carbon monoxide concentration is calculated thus:. In the above equation, the alveolar volume is measured by a helium dilution technique similar to that in lung volume determinations. This sensitive test detects early changes in lung function and reflects pathology in the small airways. Smokers have an abnormally high closing volume prior to any other pulmonary function test changes.

This signals closure of airways in the base of the lungs and preferential emptying of upper airways. It is this fact that creates phase 4. In some lung diseases, the closing volume is above the FRC. This means that airways close even during normal breathing and is an indication of advanced disease.

This test measures the volume of air moved during 15 s of repetitive forced deep maximal exhalations. A water filled spirometer is used for measurement with a time kymographic tracing. Pneumotachographs with real time computer graphics may be used. The main requirement for accurate test results is a low resistance breathing circuit and avoidance of resonance in the system.

Respiratory Physiology

Both problems have been overcome by modern spirometers, valves and tubing. Although this is formally a lung test, nonpulmonary factors such as motivation, muscular strength and endurance are very important and must be taken into consideration when interpreting the test. The results are expressed in liters per minute BTPS.

Its main utility is quickness and simplicity, and it is often used for the management of asthma. Much like a home glucose meter in a diabetic, the peak flow meter can give objective assessment of airways function throughout the day to help guide treatment and presage severe attacks.

An official update was issued in , which details equipment and procedural guidelines to enhance accuracy and reproducibility. Without meticulous attention to these recommendations, the utility of all pulmonary function tests is compromised. Cardiopulmonary stress testing 14 uncovers disorders of the respiratory system as it functions in the integrated cardiopulmonary response to the metabolic demands of increasing incremental work loads.

During the course of a cardiopulmonary stress test, the following variables are measured in real time:. End tidal. Limits to exercise appear often in clinical medicine with the presenting problem of dyspnea or shortness of breath on exertion. The genesis of this symptom may reside within either the respiratory or cardiac systems or both simultaneously. Analysis of data obtained from cardiopulmonary stress testing can aid in clinical diagnosis.

Pulmonary Physiology and Response to Exercise | SpringerLink

Testing begins with an incremental ergometric work load that creates a systemic metabolic response measured as oxygen uptake or consumption. There is a strong reproducible linear relationship between the work load and oxygen consumption. It is derived from the coupling of work and mitochondrial metabolic pathways for cellular energy generation. With increasing work loads and oxygen consumption, the total ventilation of the lung increases.

This requires higher airflow which in normals, even at peak work loads, never reaches flows measured in maximal flow—volume curves. Such is not the case in obstructive lung disorders, where reduced flow is a hallmark of the disease. Exercise is limited due to the inability to generate flows capable of sustaining the metabolic demands.

Respiratory System Made Easy

This occurs because lung apical units not perfused but ventilated at rest now are fully perfused and participate in gas exchange. As the level of incremental work load increases, the delivery of oxygen fails to meet the metabolic demands of tissues and anaerobic metabolism becomes prominent. Lactic acid is dumped into the blood stream and is quickly buffered by bicarbonate, which generates more carbon dioxide.

A dramatic upsurge in O CO 2 marks this point and is called the anaerobic or metabolic threshold. The parameter values that previously were 0. Ventilation O E is driven by the chemical stimulation of lactic acidosis in addition to the demands of oxygen delivery. Data from such a stress test yields much clinically useful information and allows one to differentiate a pulmonary from a cardiac cause for exercise limitations. Cardiopulmonary deconditioning has a distinct pattern as does obesity. Low peak O O 2 and low A.

Pulmonary Physiology, 9e

No doubt, advances in instrumentation and computers will continue to refine pulmonary function testing. Miniaturization of testing equipment allows complex measurements not only in the laboratory but also in the wild. The burgeoning science of sleep medicine is an example of this. Epidemiological studies will explore the relationship of pulmonary function to health and uncover what makes the vital capacity so vital to life.

A fundamental role for FEV 1 in total mortality independent of cigarette smoking has been proposed. Whether reduced lung function leaves an individual open to oxidative stress is unknown. The search for tests that implicate early potentially reversible lung disease will continue. The benefit to asymptomatic patients and society as a whole is obvious.

Functional residual capacity: The volume in the lung after a normal exhalation.

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At this volume the recoil pressure of the lungs inward is exactly balanced with the outward recoil pressure of the chest wall. Forced expiratory volume in the first second: The amount of air expired in the first second of a forced expiratory maneuver. This ration indicates the efficiency of ventilation. The full text of this article hosted at iucr. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account.

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Open Access. John Demenkoff Mayo Clinic Dept. Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation. Share Give access Share full text access. Share full text access. Please review our Terms and Conditions of Use and check box below to share full-text version of article. Herman Rahn, Wallace O. Fenn, Arthur Otis These remarkable men formed the core of a research effort at the University of Rochester.

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Figure 2 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Figure 3 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Figure 4 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Figure 5 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Figure 6 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Figure 7 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Figure 8 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint.

Figure 9 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Figure 10 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Figure 11 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Figure 12 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Flow volume curve. Figure 13 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Figure 14 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Figure 15 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Figure 16 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Abrupt rise at the end of exhalation called phase IV correlates with the closing volume. Perhaps pulmonary function testing will ultimately guide and protect us all.


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Total lung capacity. Residual volume: The volume of air left in the lungs after a full exhalation. Forced vital capacity: The amount of air exhaled during a complete exhalation.

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Peak expiratory flow rate during forced exhalation. Maximal voluntary ventilation expressed in liters per min. Diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide. A maximal exhalation measuring flow versus volume. Alveolar oxygen partial pressure. Alveolar carbon dioxide partial pressure. End tidal oxygen partial pressure. End tidal carbon dioxide partial pressure.

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