The magnitude and regional distribution of local gas transport during constant-flow ventilation (CFV) were quantified by imaging the washout of nitrogen 13 (13NN) from anesthetized and paralyzed mongrel dogs with positron emission tomography. Equal jet flows, through two 2-mm-ID bronchial catheters 1 cm distal to the carina, were adjusted to provide eucapnic CFV (total flow = 57.6 ml · s-1 · kg-1). Basal, midheart, and apical transverse sections were studied in supine and prone anesthetized dogs. The ventilation per unit volume (sV̇) of selected areas was computed from local 13NN concentration vs. time curves during washout. To separate the regional contributions of CFV and cardiogenic oscillation to enhanced molecular diffusion, additional supine dogs were also studied during unilateral CFV. In this protocol the CFV jet flow was delivered to a single lung while the contralateral lung was left apneic. For each lung, washout data were obtained under CFV and apnea both living and postmortem animals. The local contributions of diffusion, CFV jet effects, and cardiac activity to gas transport were evaluated and tested for additive and multiplicative synergistic interactions. The regional distribution of gas transport during CFV was found to be highly nonuniform and characterized by higher ventilation to regions located close to the main bronchi and those located in the direction in which the CFV jet pointed. No major differences were observed between supine and prone positions. This regional pattern of ventilation distribution was found to be the result of complementary and nearly multiplicative interaction between the regional effects of the CFV jet, concentrated in the central airways, and the preferential cardiogenic gas transport enhancement in ventral regions close to the heart. The data were also analyzed with a model that divides the regional diffusive gas transport resistance into a central component, affected by the CFV jet, and a peripheral component, affected only by cardiac activity. This analysis showed substantial regional heterogeneities in the effects of the different gas transport mechanisms, which are consistent with the geometry of the bronchial tree and the location of the heart in the dog. The results indicate that regional nonuniformities must be considered when modeling gas transport in CFV.
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