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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2010 Sep;109(3):643-53. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01411.2009. Epub 2010 Jun 10.

Calculating alveolar capillary conductance and pulmonary capillary blood volume: comparing the multiple- and single-inspired oxygen tension methods.

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Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Gonda 5-369, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


Key elements for determining alveolar-capillary membrane conductance (Dm) and pulmonary capillary blood volume (Vc) from the lung diffusing capacity (Dl) for carbon monoxide (DlCO) or for nitric oxide (DlNO) are the reaction rate of carbon monoxide with hemoglobin (thetaCO) and the DmCO/DlNO relationship (alpha-ratio). Although a range of values have been reported, currently there is no consensus regarding these parameters. The study purpose was to define optimal parameters (thetaCO, alpha-ratio) that would experimentally substantiate calculations of Dm and Vc from the single-inspired O2 tension [inspired fraction of O2 (FiO2)] method relative to the multiple-FiO2 method. Eight healthy men were studied at rest and during moderate exercise (80-W cycle). Dm and Vc were determined by the multiple-FiO2 and single-FiO2 methods (rebreathe technique) and were tabulated by applying previously reported thetaCO equations (both methods) and by varying the alpha-ratio (single-FiO2 method) from 1.90 to 2.50. Values were then compared between methods throughout the examined alpha-ratios. Dm and Vc were critically dependent on the applied thetaCO equation. For the multiple-FiO2 method, Dm was highly variable between thetaCO equations (rest and exercise); the range of Vc was less widespread. For the single-FiO2 method, the thetaCO equation by Reeves and Park (1992) combined with an alpha-ratio between 2.08 and 2.26 gave values for Dm and Vc that most closely matched those from the multiple-FiO2 method and were also physiologically plausible compared with predicted values. We conclude that the parameters used to calculate Dm and Vc values from the single-FiO2 method (using DlCO and DlNO) can significantly influence results and should be evaluated within individual laboratories to obtain optimal values.

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