A simple distensible vessel model was developed for the purpose of interpreting the vascular pressure-flow curve in the zone 3 lung. The model-governing equation has two parameters: R0, representing the hemodynamic resistance of the undistended pulmonary vascular bed, and alpha, representing the distensibility of the resistance vessels. To evaluate the model, the governing equation was used in a nonlinear regression analysis of the pressure-flow data from isolated dog lung lobes. The dependency of the estimates of the model parameters in response to changes in perfusate viscosity (hematocrit) was determined. The distensible vessel model provided reasonable fits to the data, and, as predicted, R0, but not alpha, was hematocrit dependent. On the other hand, the traditional linear ohmic-Starling resistor model fit to the same pressure-flow data generally provided fits approaching those of the distensibility model only if the pressure intercept (the mean “critical closing pressure”) was allowed to increase with hematocrit. Because the ohmic-Starling resistor concept does not predict a hematocrit dependence of the critical closing pressure, this latter observation is evidence that the distensible vessel model offers an alternative conceptualization of the pulmonary circulation worthy of additional study with respect to the interpretation of experimental pressure-flow data.
- Copyright © 1992 the American Physiological Society