Minimal model quantification of pulmonary gas exchange in intensive care patients

Med Eng Phys. 2011 Mar;33(2):240-8. doi: 10.1016/j.medengphy.2010.10.007. Epub 2010 Nov 2.


Mathematical models are required to describe pulmonary gas exchange. The challenge remains to find models which are complex enough to describe physiology and simple enough for clinical practice. This study aimed at finding the necessary 'minimal' modeling complexity to represent the gas exchange of both oxygen and carbon dioxide. Three models of varying complexity were compared for their ability to fit measured data from intensive care patients and to provide adequate description of patients' gas exchange abnormalities. Pairwise F-tests showed that a two parameter model provided superior fit to patient data compared to a shunt only model (p<0.001), and that a three parameter model provided superior fit compared to the two parameter model (p<0.1). The three parameter model describes larger ranges of ventilation to perfusion ratios than the two parameter model, and is identifiable from data routinely available in clinical practice.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Models, Biological*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation*
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Respiration
  • Respiration, Artificial / instrumentation*
  • Respiratory Function Tests / instrumentation
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / pathology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Ventilation-Perfusion Ratio / physiology


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen