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Arterial or venous pressure (cm H2O)

FIGURE 12 Pulmonary vascular resistance decreases with increasing pulmonary arterial or pulmonary venous pressure, while the other pressure is held constant. This is because increasing either pressure increases capillary pressure and causes recruitment and distention of pulmonary capillaries. (After West, Chap. 58 in Fenn and Rahn, eds., Handbook of physiology, Section 3, Respiration. Bethesda, MD: American Physiological Society, 1965.)

alveolar vessels are generally opposite those on extra-alveolar vessels. At high lung volumes, the alveolar wall is stretched and becomes thinner, reducing the size of pulmonary capillaries and alveolar vessels. At low lung volumes, the alveolar wall is not stretched and the capillaries relax open to a wider dimension.

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