Energy analysis of a nonlinear model of the normal human lung

A. Athanasiades, F. Ghorbel, J. W. Clark, S. C. Niranjan, J. Olansen, J. B. Zwischenberger, A. Bidani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Despite the existence of respiratory mechanics models in the literature, rarely one finds analytical expressions that predict the work of breathing (WOB) associated with natural breathing maneuvers in non-ventilated subjects. In the present study, we develop relations that explicitly identify WOB, based on a proposed nonlinear model of respiratory mechanics. The model partitions airways resistance into three components (upper, middle and small), includes a collapsible airways segment, a viscoelastic element describing lung tissue dynamics and a static chest wall compliance. The individual contribution of these respiratory components on WOB is identified and analyzed. For instance, according to model predictions, during the forced vital capacity (FVC) maneuver, most of the work is expended against dissipative forces, mainly during expiration. In addition, expiratory dissipative work during FVC is almost equally partitioned among the upper airways and the collapsible airways resistances. The former expends work at the beginning of expiration, the latter at the end of expiration. The contribution of the peripheral airways is small. Our predictions are validated against laboratory data collected from volunteer subjects and using the esophageal catheter balloon technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-139
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Biological Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2000


  • Campbell diagram
  • Respiratory mechanics
  • Viscoelasticity
  • Work of breathing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Mathematics


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