Determinants of Functional Residual Capacity

Lung volume is determined by the interaction of elastic and surface tension forces in the lung and by the elastic properties of the chest wall. This interaction is illustrated in a relaxation pressure-volume curve, obtained from a person breathing from a spirometer (Fig. 6). At specified volumes, the mouthpiece is closed, the person relaxes the respiratory muscles, and pressures are measured. Figure 6 shows pressure-volume curves plotted against the appropriate transmural pressure for the lung alone (Pl), the chest wall alone (Pcw), and intact respiratory system (Prs). The lung curve is a function of Ppl, estimated from esophageal pressure as described earlier, and equals the curve that would be measured using positive pressure inflation on an excised

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