Melsom, M. N., J. Kramer-Johansen, T. Flatebo, C. Muller and G. Nicolaysen. Distribution of pulmonary ventilation and perfusion measured simultaneously in awake goats [published erratum appears in Acta Physiol Scand 1997 Jul;160(3):297]. Acta Physiol Scand. 159:199-208, 1997.
Gravity has been regarded as the major determinant for local pulmonary perfusion and ventilation. Recent reports, describing major gravity independent heterogeneity in both variables, have questioned the importance of gravity. We asked to what extent ventilation and perfusion were related, and if they showed similar distributions along the vertical axis in the lung. We gave 99mTc-aerosols as tracers for ventilation and radioactive microspheres as blood flow tracers in five awake goats over 4 min. Ventilation and perfusion were determined in approximately 1.5 cm3 pieces of the lung. For both variables the vertical distribution could vary considerably from lung to lung, but within each lung the two distributions were similar. Both ventilation and perfusion were heterogeneously distributed (CV approximately 40% for both), they were highly correlated (r = 0.81) and the average 25-75- interpercentile interval for ventilation to perfusion ratio (0.84-1.13) was significantly less wide than for both ventilation (0.76-1.38) and perfusion (0.76-1.40). Some pieces were considerably overventilated while a few were correspondingly underventilated. This could indicate that perfusion is adjusted to ventilation in normoxic lungs with a low sensitivity to overventilation.