The simplified version of Boyle's Law leads to errors in the measurement of thoracic gas volume

American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
A L CoatesD L Demizio


When using Boyle's Law for thoracic gas volume (Vtg) measurement, it is generally assumed that the alveolar pressure (Palv) does not differ from barometric pressure (Pbar) at the start of rarefaction and compression and that the product of the change in volume and pressure (delta P x delta V) is negligibly small. In a gentle panting maneuver in which the difference between Palv and Pbar is small, errors introduced by these assumptions are likely to be small; however, this is not the case when Vtg is measured using a single vigorous inspiratory effort. Discrepancies in the Vtg between the "complex" version of Boyle's Law, which does not ignore delta P x delta V and accounts for large swings in Palv, and the "simplified" version, during both a panting maneuver and a single inspiratory effort were calculated for normal control subjects and patients with cystic fibrosis or asthma. Defining the Vtg from the complete version as "correct," the errors introduced by the simplified version ranged from -3 to +3% for the panting maneuver whereas they ranged from 2 to 9% for the inspiratory maneuver. Using the simplified equation, the Vtg for the inspiratory maneuver was 0.135 +/- 0.237 L greater (p < 0.02) than for the panting maneuver. Th...Continue Reading


Aug 13, 2003·Respirology : Official Journal of the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology·Holger J SchünemannBrydon J B Grant

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