Influence of intrathoracic pressure

Increased intrathoracic pressure will impede the return to the right heart and therefore reduce cardiac output. It may also affect pulmonary vascular resistance, although this may be a less important modifier of cardiac output. However, it should be mentioned that pulmonary vascular resistance appears to be lowest at a lung volume close to FRC and increases regardless of whether lung volume is increased or reduced from that level. The diphasic dependence on lung volume can be explained by an increase in capillary resistance with increasing lung volume and an increase in extra-alveolar lung vessel resistance with decreasing lung volume.

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