Effect of atelectasis and surface tension on pulmonary vascular compliance

L. D. Nelin*, D. A. Rickaby, J. H. Linehan, C. A. Dawson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The effects of atelectasis and surface tension on the vascular volume and compliance in an isolated perfused dog lung lobe were studied using vascular occlusion and indicator-dilution methods. Measurements were made during atelectasis and again after the lobes were inflated with either a gas mixture (air) or 0.9% saline. Inflation with air resulted in a 20% increase in vascular volume (P < 0.02), whereas saline inflation had no effect on vascular volume. Inflation with either air or saline increased static vascular compliance by ~58% (P < 0.001) and dynamic vascular compliance by ~85% (P < 0.001). The larger dynamic compliance in the inflated lobes appears to have been mainly due to a larger microvascular compliance. The results suggest that atelectasis can result in a stiffer pulmonary capillary bed. This effect appears to be due primarily to the reconfiguration of the lung tissue structure, because replacing the air with an incompressible fluid did not have the same effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2401-2409
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1991


  • dog lung
  • dye-dilution
  • pulmonary vascular resistance
  • venous occlusion
  • viscoelasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology


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