The prevalence of abnormalities in lung elasticity in patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is still unclear. This might be due to uncertainties concerning the method of analysis of quasistatic deflation lung pressure-volume curves. Pressure-volume curves were obtained in 99 patients with moderately severe asthma or COPD. These patients were a subgroup from a Dutch multicentre trial; the entire group was selected on the basis of a moderately lowered % predicted forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), and a provocative concentration of histamine producing a 20% decrease in FEV1 (PC20) < 8 mg.mL-1 obtained with the 2 min tidal breathing technique. The curves were fitted with an exponential (E) model and an exponential model which took the linear appearance in the mid vital capacity range into account (linear-exponential (LE)). The linear-exponential model showed a markedly better fit ability, yielding additional parameters, such as the compliance at functional residual capacity (FRC) level as slope of the linear part (b), and the volume at which the linear part changed into the exponential part of the curve (transition volume (Vtr)). Vtr (mean value Vtr/total lung capacity (TLC) = 0.79 (SD 0.07)) showed a close positive linear correlation with obstruction and hyperinflation variables, which might be due to airway closure, already starting at elevated lung volumes. The exponential shape factor K was closely correlated with b and mean values (K = 1.32 (SD 0.05) kPa-1; b = 2.96 (SD 1.16) L,kPa-1) and the relationship with age was comparable with data reported in healthy individuals. The shape factor of the linear-exponential fit showed no correlation with any elasticity related variable. Neither the elastic recoil at 90% TLC, as obtained from the linear-exponential fit, nor its relationship with age were significantly different from healthy individuals. We conclude that, for a more accurate description of the lung pressure-volume curve, a linear-exponential fit is preferable to an exponential model. However, the physiological relevance of the shape parameter (KLE) is still unclear. These results indicate that patients with moderately severe asthma or COPD had, on average, no appreciable loss of elastic lung recoil as compared with healthy individuals.

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The European Respiratory Journal
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Bogaard, J., Overbeek, S., Verbraak, A., Vons, C., Folgering, H., van der Mark, T. W., … Sterk, P. (1995). Pressure-volume analysis of the lung with an exponential and linear-exponential model in asthma and COPD. Dutch CNSLD Study Group. The European Respiratory Journal. Retrieved from