Frequency dependence of flow resistance in patients with obstructive lung disease

Gunnar Grimby, … , Peter Macklem, Jere Mead
J Clin Invest. 1968;47(6):1455-1465.

Total respiratory, pulmonary, and chest wall flow resistances were determined by means of forced pressure and flow oscillations (3-9 cps) superimposed upon spontaneous breathing in a group of patients with varying degrees of obstructive lung disease. Increased total respiratory and pulmonary resistances were found, whereas the chest wall resistance was normal or subnormal. The total respiratory and pulmonary resistances decreased with increasing frequencies. Static compliance of the lung was measured during interrupted slow expiration, and dynamic compliance was measured during quiet and rapid spontaneous breathing. Compliance was found to be frequency-dependent. The frequency dependence of resistance and compliance are interpreted as effects of uneven distribution of the mechanical properties in the lungs. The practical application of the oscillatory technique to the measurement of flow resistance in patients with lung disease is discussed. Measurements of total respiratory resistance by the forced oscillatory technique at frequencies less than 5 cps appear to be as useful for assessing abnormalities in airway resistance as either the plethysmographic or esophageal pressure techniques.


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