Low-frequency assessment of airway and tissue mechanics in ventilated COPD patients

András Lorx, Barna Szabó, Magdolna Hercsuth, István Pénzes, Zoltán Hantos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


Low-frequency forced oscillations have increasingly been employed to characterize airway and tissue mechanics separately in the normal respiratory system and animal models of lung disease; however, few data are available on the use of this method in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We studied 30 intubated and mechanically ventilated patients (COPD, n = 9; acute exacerbation of COPD, n =21) during short apneic intervals at different levels of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP), with small-amplitude forced oscillations between 0.4 and 4.8 Hz. In 16 patients, measurements were made before and after inhalation of fenoterol hydrobromide plus ipratropium bromide (Berodual). Newtonian resistance and coefficients of tissue resistance (G) and elastance (H) were estimated from the respiratory system impedance (Zrs) data by model fitting. Apart from some extremely high Zrs data obtained primarily at relatively low PEEP levels, the model yielded a reasonable partitioning of the airway and tissue parameters, and the inclusion of further parameters did not improve the model performance. With increasing PEEP, Newtonian resistance and the ratio G/H decreased, reflecting the volume dependence of the airway caliber and the improved homogeneity of the lungs, respectively. Bronchodilation after the administration of Berodual was also associated with simultaneous decreases in G and H, indicating recruitment of lung units. In conclusion, the measurement of low-frequency Zrs can be accomplished in ventilated COPD patients during short apneic periods and offers valuable information on the mechanical status of the airways and tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1884-1892
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2009


  • Bronchodilation
  • Forced oscillation
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Respiratory elastance
  • Respiratory resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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