We examined maximum expiratory flow (Vmax) in two canine preparations in which regional changes in lung mechanical properties were produced. In one experiment serial bronchial obstructions were made to determine whether flow-limiting sites (choke points, CP) would occur in series. With the right lung tied off, constrictions were placed at the left lower lobar bronchus (LLL) and left main-stem bronchus. On deflation from total lung capacity, the obstructed LLL and nonobstructed left upper lobe (LUL) emptied into the obstructed left main-stem bronchus. Although a CP common to both lobes was identified at the main-stem obstruction, which limited total Vmax, we questioned whether there was also a CP at the lobar obstruction that fixed LLL flow. In that case the rate of LLL emptying would not be dependent on the presence of the common (i.e., central) CP and thus the flow contribution of the LUL. We found that when the LUL was removed, the LLL increased its rate of emptying. Thus a lobar CP did not fix LLL flow and CP did not occur in series. In a second experiment emphysema was produced in the left lung to reduce lung recoil, whereas the right lung was normal. CP were identified at approximately lobar bronchi of each lung, and the lungs were emptied at different rates. A CP common to both lungs was not identified. Our results indicate that in localized lung disease, if flows from the different regions are high enough, then wave speed is reached in proximal airways, and a CP occurs centrally rather than peripherally. On the other hand, if flows are low, then wave speed is reached peripherally and a CP common to all lung regions does not occur.
- Copyright © 1988 the American Physiological Society