The senile lung. Comparison with normal and emphysematous lungs. 2. Functional aspects

Chest. 1992 Mar;101(3):800-9. doi: 10.1378/chest.101.3.800.


Senile lungs are characterized by a homogeneous enlargement of the alveolar airspaces, without fibrosis or destruction of their walls. Study of the functional characteristics of excisea senile lungs showed an increase in minimal air and a shift to the left of the elastic recoil pressure-volume curves, less pronounced than in emphysematous lungs. Maximal expiratory volumes and flows were normal. Total lung capacity was not significantly increased, but this may be a consequence of preagonal edema. Comparison of normal, senile, and emphysematous lungs showed a close relationship between recoil pressures and mean linear intercept, Lm, and between forced expiratory volume in 1 s and diameter and density of the membranous bronchioles. It is concluded that airspace enlargement may precede emphysema and may be responsible for changes in lung elasticity. In this respect, senile lungs are an example of the functional changes caused by an isolated airspace enlargement.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / pathology
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Elasticity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Size
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / pathology
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Ventilation