Physical Aspects of Ventilation

The movement of air into and out of the lungs occurs as a result of pressure differences induced by changes in lung volumes. Ventilation is thus influenced by the physical properties of the lungs, including their compliance, elasticity, and surface tension.

Movement of air, from higher to lower pressure, between the conducting zone and the terminal bronchioles occurs as a result of the pressure difference between the two ends of the airways. Air flow through bronchioles, like blood flow through blood vessels, is directly proportional to the pressure difference and inversely proportional to the frictional resistance to flow. The pressure differences in the pulmonary system are induced by changes in lung volumes. The compliance, elasticity, and surface tension of the lungs are physical properties that affect their functioning.

Parietal pericardium

Visceral pericardium

Esophagus

Visceral pericardium

Esophagus

Heart

(In middle mediastinum) -Parietal pleura

-Visceral pleura -Pleural cavity

Posterior mediastinum

Heart

(In middle mediastinum) -Parietal pleura

-Visceral pleura -Pleural cavity

Posterior mediastinum

Bronchus 'Thoracic vertebra

■ Figure 16.8 A cross section of the thoracic cavity. In addition to the lungs, the mediastinum and pleural membranes are visible. The parietal pleura is shown in green, and the visceral pleura in blue.

Respiratory Physiology

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