Both ventilation and perfusion are unevenly distributed, as they are influenced by gravitation with a preference for dependent lung regions. Pathological changes in acute respiratory failure are also distributed towards dependent lung regions. Any impairment of ventilation in dependent lung regions while blood flow is better preserved will have a considerable effect on the ability of the lung to oxygenate the blood. Therefore a knowledge of the basic normal physiology of the lung may guide in the understanding and treatment of such disease.

Chapter References

Diot, P., Baulieu, J.-L., and LemariƩ, E. (1993). Nuclear medicine and lung diseases, p. 124. Springer-Verlag, Paris.

Hedenstierna, G. (1995). Ventilation-perfusion relationships during anaesthesia. Thorax, 50, 85-91.

Hughes, J.M.B. (1991). Distribution of pulmonary blood flow. In The lung: scientific foundations (ed. R.G. Crystal et al.), pp.


Raven Press, New York.

Milic-Emili, J. (1991). Topographical inequality of ventilation. In The lung: scientific foundations (ed. R.G. Crystal et al.), pp.


Raven Press, New York.

Nunn, J.E. (1993). Distribution of pulmonary ventilation and perfusion. In Nunn's applied respiratory physiology (4th edn), pp. 156-84. Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford.

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