Expiratory pressure-volume curves and maximal expiratory flow-volume curves were obtained in 74 healthy subjects (49 males 25 females) aged between 20 and 64. Maximal expiratory flowstatic recoil (MEFSR) curves were then constructed. Aging was associated with loss of lung recoil and reduction in maximal expiratory flow measured between 80 and 50% total lung capacity (TLC), in both males and females, with the slope of the MEFSR curve becoming steeper. In subjects less than 40 yr old the conductance of the upstream segment increased from 80 to 50% TLC, whereas in older subjects it decreased. We also studied the effects of alveolar gas compression artifacts on MEFSR curves in 12 additional subjects and 10 patients with chronic obstructive lung disease; consistent changes were found, but the subsequent shift of the MEFSR curve toward the left was only mild. These changes are interpreted as reflecting the net effects of an increase in the unstressed dimensions of the airways together with a decrease in intraparenchymal airways diameter, probably due to loss of parenchymal airways diameter, probably due to loss of parenchymal support. It was also concluded that the analysis of the MEFSR curve did not allow a quantitative estimate of the chantes in airways compressibility with aging.
- Copyright © 1979 the American Physiological Society