Linear programming analysis of VA/Q distributions: limits on central moments

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1986 May;60(5):1772-81. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1986.60.5.1772.


Linear programming examines the boundaries of infinite sets. We used this method with the multiple-inert gas-elimination technique to examine the central moments and arterial blood gases of the infinite family of ventilation perfusion (VA/Q) distributions that are compatible with a measured inert gas-retention set. A linear program was applied with Monte-Carlo error simulation to theoretical retention data, and 95% confidence intervals were constructed for the first three moments (mean, dispersion, and skew) and the arterial PO2 and PCO2 of all compatible blood flow distributions. Six typical cases were studied. Results demonstrate narrow confidence intervals for both the lower moments and predicted arterial blood gases of all test cases, which widen as moment number or error increase. We conclude that the blood gas composition and basic structure of all compatible VA/Q distributions are tightly constrained and that even subtle changes in this structure, as may occur experimentally, can be identified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biometry
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Computers*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Noble Gases / blood
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Pulmonary Circulation
  • Software*
  • Ventilation-Perfusion Ratio*


  • Noble Gases
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen