Frequency dependence of compliance as a test for obstruction in the small airways

J Clin Invest. 1969 Jun;48(6):1097-106. doi: 10.1172/JCI106066.


We selected five bronchitics and four asthmatics in remission, whose routine lung function tests were not significantly abnormal. Dynamic compliance was measured at different respiratory frequencies and the results compared with those obtained from a normal control group. In all patients compliance was frequency dependent and remained so after the administration of bronchodilator aerosols. Compliance was frequency dependent in only one normal subject, and this was completely reversed by bronchodilators. Because the elastic properties of the patients' lungs were normal, and because pulmonary resistance was normal or only minimally increased, we interpret these results as indicating obstruction in peripheral airways.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aerosols
  • Age Factors
  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bronchitis / diagnosis*
  • Bronchitis / pathology
  • Bronchitis / physiopathology
  • Bronchodilator Agents / pharmacology
  • Elasticity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Lung Compliance
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiration*
  • Spirometry


  • Aerosols
  • Bronchodilator Agents