Determination of lung capillary blood volume and membrane diffusing capacity in man by the measurements of NO and CO transfer

Respir Physiol. 1987 Oct;70(1):113-20. doi: 10.1016/s0034-5687(87)80036-1.


NO and CO lung transfer values (TL) were measured separately in 14 healthy subjects (7 men, 7 women), using the single breath technique. Five repetitive maneuvers were performed by each subject for TLNO and TLCO determinations. The inspired mixture contained either 8 ppm NO or 0.25% CO, with 2% He, 21% O2 in N2. In order to measure an appreciable fraction of NO in the alveolar gas it was necessary to shorten the breath holding time to 3 sec. TLNO was about five times greater than TLCO. This result suggests that the specific conductance of blood (theta) for NO is very high and that the second term of the second member of the equation 1/TLNO = 1/DmNO + 1/(theta NO.Qc) is therefore negligible. DmCO and Qc values can thus be computed from TLNO and TLCO measurements. The results obtained with this method are very close to those reported in the literature; for men DmCO = 79.0 +/- 14.3 ml.min-1.Torr-1, Qc = 78.0 +/- 13.2 ml and for women DmCO = 59.0 +/- 10.1 ml.min-1.Torr-1, Qc = 59.5 +/- 11.6 ml.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Volume Determination / methods
  • Capillaries
  • Carbon Monoxide / pharmacokinetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / blood supply*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitric Oxide / pharmacokinetics*
  • Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity*


  • Nitric Oxide
  • Carbon Monoxide