Lung volume changes in response to altered breathing gas pressure during upright immersion

Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1991;62(2):122-9. doi: 10.1007/BF00626767.


Since elastic and flow-resistive respiratory work are volume dependent, changes in lung volume during immersion affect respiratory effort. This investigation examined changes in lung volume with air delivery pressure modifications during upright immersion. Static pressure-volume relaxation relationships and lung volumes were obtained from ten immersed subjects breathing air at four delivery pressures: mouth pressure, lung centroid pressure (PLC), and 0.98 kPa above and below PLC. The PLC is the static lung pressure which returns the respiratory relaxation volume (VR) to normal and was previously determined to be +1.33 kPa relative to pressure at the sternal notch. Lung volume changes observed when breathing air at mouth pressure were reversed when air was supplied at PLC. The expiratory reserve volume (ERV) and VR were reduced by 58% and 87%, respectively, during uncompensated immersion. These differences indicated an active defence of ERV and implied that additional static respiratory work was required to overcome transrespiratory pressure gradients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air*
  • Expiratory Reserve Volume
  • Humans
  • Immersion / physiopathology*
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Posture
  • Pressure*
  • Respiration
  • Vital Capacity