A simple distensible vessel model for interpreting pulmonary vascular pressure-flow curves

J. H. Linehan, S. T. Haworth, L. D. Nelin, G. S. Krenz, C. A. Dawson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


A simple distensible vessel model was developed for the purpose of interpreting the vascular pressure-flow curve in the zone 3 lung. The model- governing equation has two parameters: R0, representing the hemodynamic resistance of the undistended pulmonary vascular bed, and α, representing the distensibility of the resistance vessels. To evaluate the model, the governing equation was used in a nonlinear regression analysis of the pressure-flow data from isolated dog lung lobes. The dependency of the estimates of the model parameters in response to changes in perfusate viscosity (hematocrit) was determined. The distensible vessel model provided reasonable fits to the data, and, as predicted, R0, but not α, was hematocrit dependent. On the other hand, the traditional linear ohmic- Starling resistor model fit to the same pressure-flow data generally provided fits approaching those of the distensibility model only if the pressure intercept (the mean 'critical closing pressure') was allowed to increase with hematocrit. Because the ohmic-Starling resistor concept does not predict a hematocrit dependence of the critical closing pressure, this latter observation is evidence that the distensible vessel model offers an alternative conceptualization of the pulmonary circulation worthy of additional study with respect to the interpretation of experimental pressure- flow data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)987-994
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992


  • hematocrit
  • isolated dog lung
  • pulmonary vascular resistance
  • viscosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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