Computer analysis of the single-breath nitrogen washout curve

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1976 Apr;113(4):445-9. doi: 10.1164/arrd.1976.113.4.445.


A computerized system has been developed to analyze the parameters that can be derived from the nitrogen washout curve. Analog signals for air flow, volume, and nitrogen concentration are entered either on-line or off-line into a 24,000 mini-computer. The program calculates vital capacity, total lung capacity, and residual volume, as well as the slope of phase III, closing volume in liters, total lung capacity, residual volume, closing capacity, closing volume/vital capacity ratio, and closing capacity/total lung capacity ratio. Validation tests showed excellent correlation between hand- and computer-calculated values of closing volume(r=0.864), vital capacity (r=0.997), total lung capacity (r=0.991), and slope of phase III (R=0.926). We concluded that the computerized system for analysis of the expired nitrogen washout curve is as reliable as hand calculations and is immeasurably faster.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted*
  • Humans
  • Lung Volume Measurements / methods*
  • Nitrogen / analysis*
  • Pulmonary Ventilation
  • Residual Volume
  • Vital Capacity


  • Nitrogen