To assess the significant role of diffusion impairment and its unequal distribution in acutely injured lungs with alveolar flooding, oleic acid was intravenously injected into twenty-five mongrel dogs. The animals were divided into two groups, A and B. 0.1% CO in air was delivered, as an inspired gas, to the animals of group A. Simultaneously, saline containing a trace amount of six foreign inert gases was infused through a peripheral vein. While allowing the animals in group B to breathe air, saline containing ethylene, acetylene and freon 22 was infused. After injection of oleic acid, group A revealed increase in intrapulmonary shunt accompanied by a marked broadening of ventilation-perfusion ( V ̇A Q ̇) and diffusing capacity-perfusion ( G Q ̇) distributions. A considerable amount of total cardiac output was received by the lung areas with low G Q ̇ ratios where significant diffusion limitation was predicted to occur. Group B showed that excretion of freon 22 (gas with lower diffusivity) in injured lungs was considerably distorted as compared to those of ethylene and acetylene (gases with higher diffusivities), again ascertaining the importance of diffusion limitation in lungs with exudate in alveolar regions.
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