Accurate measurement of N2 volumes during N2 washout requires dynamic adjustment of delay time

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1985 Sep;59(3):1008-12. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1985.59.3.1008.


Measurement of respiratory gas composition by a mass spectrometer lags behind the measurement of gas flow. To obtain specific gas volumes (e.g., the N2 volume) by multiplication and integration of concentration and flow, one has to synchronize flow and concentration signals using the delay time (TD) of the gas analyzer. During the N2 washout, however, gas composition changes and causes alterations of TD. This leads to errors of up to 17 and 70% in the measurement of pulmonary volume and series dead space, respectively, in an ideally mixing physical model of the lung. On the basis of Poiseuille's law and exact measurements of the characteristics of the capillary it is possible to adjust the synchronization, which improves the absolute accuracy considerably.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Lung Volume Measurements / methods*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Models, Structural
  • Nitrogen
  • Rheology
  • Time Factors


  • Nitrogen