Relationship between maximal expiratory flows and lung volumes in growing humans

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1988 Aug;65(2):822-8. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1988.65.2.822.


We examined airway vs. lung parenchymal growth, as inferred from maximal expiratory flows (MEF) and lung volumes (V), respectively, to determine whether the interindividual variability of airway size (inferred from MEF) changes during lung growth and whether a young child with large (or small) airways for his parenchymal size (inferred from V) maintains relatively large (or small) airways for his lung size as he grows to adulthood. Serial measurements of MEF and V were obtained from a cohort of healthy 6- to 27-yr-old males (n = 26) and females (n = 21) over a period of 18 yr. Data were analyzed using logarithmic transformation of the power law equation, MEF = aVb, to fit a regression line to each subject's data points. These growth trajectories were satisfactorily modeled as parallel lines with 20-30% variability of their y-intercepts, indicating that substantial intersubject variability of MEF relative to V is present in early childhood and remains constant during growth. The results further indicate that MEF does track V during lung growth. We conclude that dysanapsis originates in early childhood.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Flow Rates*
  • Humans
  • Lung / growth & development*
  • Lung / physiology
  • Lung Volume Measurements*
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • Maximal Expiratory Flow Rate*
  • Respiration*
  • Total Lung Capacity*
  • Trachea / growth & development
  • Trachea / physiology
  • Vital Capacity