Altered elastic properties of the respiratory system

  • R. Brandolese
  • U. Andreose
Part of the Topics in Anaesthesia and Critical Care book series (TIACC)


The lungs can be expanded by downward or upward movements of the diaphragm to lengthen or shorten the chest cavity, and by elevation or depression of the ribs to increase and decrease the anteroposterior diameter of the chest cavity [1]. The lung is an elastic structure; at any time of the respiratory cycle, the inspiratory muscles have to overcome the elastic recoil pressure of the total respiratory system to inflate the lungs. The muscular pressure generated by the respiratory muscles is dependent on the elastic and resistive properties of the respiratory system at any value of tidal volume. Between the lung pleura and the chest wall there is a slight suction that maintains a moderate subatmospheric (negative) pressure in the pleural space. During inspiration, the expansion of the chest wall creates a greater negative pressure. Therefore, the lungs can be inflated by the tidal volume [2].


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Respiratory System Acute Respiratory Failure Respiratory Muscle Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Italia, Milano 1999

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  • R. Brandolese
  • U. Andreose

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