Journal of Applied Physiology


As a pulmonary component of Predictive Studies V, designed to determine O2 tolerance of multiple organs and systems in humans at 3.0–1.5 ATA, pulmonary function was evaluated at 1.0 ATA in 13 healthy men before and after O2 exposure at 3.0 ATA for 3.5 h. Measurements included flow-volume loops, spirometry, and airway resistance (Raw) (n = 12); CO diffusing capacity (n = 11); closing volumes (n = 6); and air vs. HeO2 forced vital capacity maneuvers (n = 5). Chest discomfort, cough, and dyspnea were experienced during exposure in mild degree by most subjects. Mean forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and forced expiratory flow at 25–75% of vital capacity (FEF25–75) were significantly reduced postexposure by 5.9 and 11.8%, respectively, whereas forced vital capacity was not significantly changed. The average difference in maximum midexpiratory flow rates at 50% vital capacity on air and HeO2 was significantly reduced postexposure by 18%. Raw and CO diffusing capacity were not changed postexposure. The relatively large change in FEF25–75 compared with FEV1, the reduction in density dependence of flow, and the normal Raw postexposure are all consistent with flow limitation in peripheral airways as a major cause of the observed reduction in expiratory flow. Postexposure pulmonary function changes in one subject who convulsed at 3.0 h of exposure are compared with corresponding average changes in 12 subjects who did not convulse.