Characteristics of impaired gas exchange in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

K. Yamaguchi, A. Kawai, M. Mori, K. Asano, T. Takasugi, A. Umeda, T. Kawashiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Eleven patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), placed in a supine position, were given a mixture of 0.1% CO and 21% O2 in N2 as inspired gas and normal saline containing the six inert gases including SF6, ethane, cyclopropane, halothane, diethyl ether and acetone via the antecubital vein. After the steady state was established, the expired gas was collected and both arterial and mixed venous blood were simultaneously sampled through the catheter inserted either into the femoral or pulmonary artery. Assuming that mass transfer efficiency of a given indicator gas at each gas exchange unit would be limited by the ratio of ventilation to perfusion (VA/Q) and by that of diffusive conductance to perfusion (G/Q), the data were analyzed by means of a lung model with 20 units along the VA/Q and G/Q axes, respectively. By application of the method of weighted least-squares combined with the idea of constrained optimization, the data were transformed into a virtually continuous distribution of Q against VA/Q and G/Q axes. Analytical results revealed that: 1) patients with advanced COPD show widening of VA/Q distribution accompanied with a significant contribution of either high VA/Q (emphysematous change) or low VA/Q area (peripheral airway involvement). and 2) their Q distributions along the G/Q axis are unimodal but have an area with a relatively low G/Q, indicating a small but appreciable contribution of diffusion limitation to their hypoxemia. In conclusion, the findings consistently suggest that inhomogeneity of G/Q may partly be responsible for the impaired gas exchange in the cases of COPD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-425
Number of pages6
JournalRinsho byori. The Japanese journal of clinical pathology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1990 Apr

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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