Normal values for single exhalation diffusing capacity and pulmonary capillary blood flow in sitting, supine positions, and during mild exercise

Chest. 1994 Feb;105(2):501-8. doi: 10.1378/chest.105.2.501.


Previous approaches to the measurements of pulmonary diffusing capacity (DL) and pulmonary capillary blood flow (QC) utilized either the rebreathing or the single inhalation technique in conjunction with radioisotope gas and mass spectrometry. In the present study, we utilized a newly developed rapid infrared analyzer in conjunction with the slow single exhalation technique on 100 healthy volunteers to establish normal values for DL and QC under sitting, supine, and exercise conditions. The exercise level was determined by a target heart rate: HRex = ([HRmax - HRrest]/3) + HRrest. Prediction equations based on regressions on age, sex, height, or weight were then computed for sitting, supine, and exercise values. We found that mean DL and QC increased by approximately 12 percent and 8 percent, respectively, from sitting to supine posture, and by approximately 30 percent and 100 percent, respectively, from sitting (rest) to mild exercise. These results provided a database for further studies in the single exhalation method in various clinical settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylene
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Constitution / physiology
  • Capillaries / physiology
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maximal Expiratory Flow Rate / physiology
  • Methane
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Circulation / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology
  • Respiration / physiology*
  • Supine Position / physiology*


  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Acetylene
  • Methane