Transit time dispersion in the pulmonary arterial tree

Anne V. Clough, Steven T. Haworth, Christopher C. Hanger, Jerri Wang, David L. Roerig, John H. Linehan, Christopher A. Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Knowledge of the contributions of arterial and venous transit time dispersion to the pulmonary vascular transit time distribution is important for understanding lung function and for interpreting various kinds of data containing information about pulmonary function. Thus, to determine the dispersion of blood transit times occurring within the pulmonary arterial and venous trees, images of a bolus of contrast medium passing through the vasculature of pump-perfused dog lung lobes were acquired by using an X-ray microfocal angiography system. Time-absorbance curves from the lobar artery and vein and from selected locations within the intrapulmonary arterial tree were measured from the images. Overall dispersion within the lung lobe was determined from the difference in the first and second moments (mean transit time and variance, respectively) of the inlet arterial and outlet venous time-absorbance curves. Moments at selected locations within the arterial tree were also calculated and compared with those of the lobar artery curve. Transit times for the arterial pathways upstream from the smallest measured arteries (200-μm diameter) were less than ~20% of the total lung lobe mean transit time. Transit time variance among these arterial pathways (interpathway dispersion) was less than ~5% of the total variance imparted on the bolus as it passed through the lung lobe. On average, the dispersion that occurred along a given pathway (intrapathway dispersion) was negligible. Similar results were obtained for the venous tree. Taken together, the results suggest that most of the variation in transit time in the intrapulmonary vasculature occurs within the pulmonary capillary bed rather than in conducting arteries or veins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-574
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1998


  • Angiography
  • Bolus dispersion
  • Indicator dilution
  • Mean transit time
  • Pulmonary circulation
  • Variance
  • X- ray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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