Positional effects on distribution of ventilation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

C. Shim, K. J. Chun, M. H. Williams, M. D. Blaufox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Ventilation is distributed predominantly to the dependent lung in normal persons in the decubitus position. We evaluated the distribution of ventilation in four patients with mild-to-moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease using 81mKr gas. Patients were tested in the sitting and right and left decubitus positions with and without the application of positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP). In contrast to findings in controls, ventilation was predominantly distributed to the nondependent lung in patients in the decubitus position. Mean ventilation in the right lung decreased from 51% of the total in the sitting position to 31% in the right decubitus position; it increased with the application of 10 cm PEEP. Reduced ventilation in the dependent lung most likely is caused by closure of the airways after a decrease in volume. Application of PEEP resulted in increased lung volume and preferential distribution of ventilation to the dependent lung.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-350
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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