A multicompartment analysis of the lung

Michael H Reid, Herbert B. Hechtman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Intravascular inert-gas tracers have been employed in a multicompartment lung model to measure the anatomic shunt. This includes blood flow to atelectatic areas, to regions with closed nonventilated airspaces and to regions where there are diffusion blocks to tracer passage. The volume of perfused airspaces without diffusion-block distal to bronchial obstruction has been determined. The gases xenon 133 and krypton 85 were used to measure shunting. Data indicate that this shunt is 30-50% less than that calculated with 100% oxygen breathing. This is related to the effects of low {Mathematical expression} ratios in the shunt calculations using 100% oxygen. A system employing two compartments is analysed, and a graphical technique is presented which allows calculation of the ventilation, perfusion and alveolar volume of each compartment. Comparisons are made between single- and 2-compartment analyses, and it is shown that the single-compartment model will underestimate the true {Mathematical expression} ratio except in very special cases. Where possible, the results for 2-compartment systems are extended to N compartments. Clinical application of the methods described is facilitated by establishing a steady-state tracer distribution with a constant tracer infusion. Such an equilibrium condition is not required, but reduces the number of tracer sample measurements to four.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-414
Number of pages10
JournalMedical & Biological Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1974
Externally publishedYes


  • Multicompartment analysis of the lung

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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