Understanding Pulmonary Mechanics Using The Forced Oscillations Technique

Emphasis on Breathing Frequencies
  • Kenneth R. Lutchen
  • Béla Suki


The lung is a marvelously over-designed mechanical ventilation system. It is capable of sustaining substantial injury or alteration while still maintaining life-sustaining blood gas levels. Nevertheless, these alterations often lead to compromised lung function and breathing discomfort. Consider two basic questions: What is the relative compromise in airway versus tissue properties during asthma?; and flow do airways and tissues contribute to alterations in breathing discomfort (dyspnea) and breathing function (i.e., to adequately ventilate)? Answers to these questions are required for designing and monitoring effective treatment protocols. Unfortunately, obtaining answers is fraught with ambiguities as they will be highly dependent on the breathing frequency and amplitude, on the alterations in the mechanical constituents comprising the airways and tissues (eg., airway geometry and wall properties and the tissue fiber system), and on the topological properties of the interdependent airway-tissue matrix. What is needed is a measurement approach which can provide specific and reliable insight on the mechanical properties and important mechanisms that contribute to breathing. Preferably, the method should be amenable to clinical applications and assessment.


Lung Tissue Input Impedance Forced Oscillation Harmonic Distortion Tissue Property 
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© Plenum Press 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth R. Lutchen
    • 1
  • Béla Suki
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringBoston University Boston

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