A human cardiopulmonary system model applied to the analysis of the Valsalva maneuver

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2001 Dec;281(6):H2661-79. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.2001.281.6.H2661.


Previous models combining the human cardiovascular and pulmonary systems have not addressed their strong dynamic interaction. They are primarily cardiovascular or pulmonary in their orientation and do not permit a full exploration of how the combined cardiopulmonary system responds to large amplitude forcing (e.g., by the Valsalva maneuver). To address this issue, we developed a new model that represents the important components of the cardiopulmonary system and their coupled interaction. Included in the model are descriptions of atrial and ventricular mechanics, hemodynamics of the systemic and pulmonic circulations, baroreflex control of arterial pressure, airway and lung mechanics, and gas transport at the alveolar-capillary membrane. Parameters of this combined model were adjusted to fit nominal data, yielding accurate and realistic pressure, volume, and flow waveforms. With the same set of parameters, the nominal model predicted the hemodynamic responses to the markedly increased intrathoracic (pleural) pressures during the Valsalva maneuver. In summary, this model accurately represents the cardiopulmonary system and can explain how the heart, lung, and autonomic tone interact during the Valsalva maneuver. It is likely that with further refinement it could describe various physiological states and help investigators to better understand the biophysics of cardiopulmonary disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Baroreflex / physiology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Heart / physiology
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Cardiovascular*
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange / physiology
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology
  • Valsalva Maneuver / physiology*
  • Ventricular Function
  • Vital Capacity / physiology