The numerical analysis of pressure-flow curves in infancy

Pediatr Pulmonol. Jan-Feb 1985;1(1):19-26. doi: 10.1002/ppul.1950010107.


Lung resistance (RL) and airway resistance (Raw) were measured in 33 healthy and sick infants. Using strict criteria for quality control, calibrated pressure-flow (P-V) curves were produced with the aid of a computer so that resistance could be analyzed at several points over the breathing cycle. In a subgroup of 11 infants from whom simultaneous measurements were obtained, values of RL and Raw were comparable, suggesting that the tissue component may make only a minimal contribution to lung resistance in infants. For both RL and Raw, the P-V relationship remained linear up to 50% maximum inspiratory flow in all infants. At other points of the respiratory cycle, there were marked changes in resistance, values calculated between points of mid-isovolume or peak pressure being significantly higher than those measured over the linear portion of inspiratory flow. While no single value can accurately reflect the changes in respiratory resistance that occur during the breathing cycle, the authors suggest that for purposes of comparison, RL or Raw should be measured as the slope of the inspiratory loop from the origin up to 50% of maximum inspiratory flow. From a calibrated tidal pressure flow curve values of resistance over other portions of the breathing cycle can easily be determined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Airway Resistance*
  • Computers
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lung Compliance*
  • Plethysmography, Whole Body
  • Pulmonary Ventilation