Size distribution of recruited alveolar volumes in airway reopening

B. Suki, A. M. Alencar, J. Tolnai, T. Asztalos, F. Petak, M. K. Sujeer, K. Patel, J. Patel, H. E. Stanley, Z. Hantos

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16 Citations (Scopus)


In 11 isolated dog lung lobes, we studied the size distribution of recruited alveolar volumes that become available for gas exchange during inflation from the collapsed state. Three catheters were wedged into 2-mm-diameter airways at total lung capacity. Small-amplitude pseudorandom pressure oscillations between 1 and 47 Hz were led into the catheters, and the input impedances of the regions subtended by the catheters were continuously recorded using a wave tube technique during inflation from -5 cmH2O transpulmonary pressure to total lung capacity. The impedance data were fit with a model to obtain regional tissue elastance (Eti) as a function of inflation. First, Eti was high and decreased in discrete jumps as more groups of alveoli were recruited. By assuming that the number of opened alveoli is inversely proportional to Eti, we calculated from the jumps in Eti the distribution of the discrete increments in the number of opened alveoli. This distribution was in good agreement with model simulations in which airways open in cascade or avalanches. Implications for mechanical ventilation may be found in these results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2030-2040
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 20 2000


  • Atelectasis
  • Avalanches
  • Gas exchange
  • Lung elastance
  • Percolation
  • Power law

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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    Suki, B., Alencar, A. M., Tolnai, J., Asztalos, T., Petak, F., Sujeer, M. K., Patel, K., Patel, J., Stanley, H. E., & Hantos, Z. (2000). Size distribution of recruited alveolar volumes in airway reopening. Journal of Applied Physiology, 89(5), 2030-2040.