Mechanical implications of viscoelasticity

  • J. Milic-Emili
  • E. D’Angelo
Part of the Topics in Anaesthesia and Critical Care book series (TIACC)


In 1955, Mount [1] assessed the dynamic work per breath (Wdyn,L) as given by volume-pressure loops in open-chest rats during sinusoidal variations in lung volume. In order to explain the relatively high values of Wdyn,L at the lower frequencies and the progressive decrease in dynamic pulmonary compliance with increasing frequency, he proposed a two-compartment viscoelastic model of the lung which “confers time dependency of the elastic properties.” In 1967 Sharp et al. [2], who were unaware of Mount’s work, proposed a similar viscoelastic model for both lung and chest wall. Until the late 1980s these models were largely ignored. Since then, however, the viscoelastic properties of the respiratory system have been recognized to play an important role in respiratory dynamics. In this review we describe the implications of viscoelastic mechanisms in terms of a) frequency dependence of pulmonary and chest wall elastance and resistance, b) work of breathing, c) passive lung deflation, and d) forced vital capacity (FVC).


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patient Forced Vital Capacity Peak Expiratory Flow 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

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Milic-Emili
  • E. D’Angelo

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