Estimating the effect of lung collapse and pulmonary shunt on gas exchange during breath-hold diving: the Scholander and Kooyman legacy.
We developed a mathematical model to investigate the effect of lung compression and collapse (pulmonary shunt) on the uptake and removal of O(2), CO(2) and N(2) in blood and tissue of breath-hold diving mammals. We investigated the consequences of pressure (diving depth) and respiratory volume on pulmonary shunt and gas exchange as pressure compressed the alveoli. The model showed good agreement with previous studies of measured arterial O(2) tensions (Pa(O)(2)) from freely diving Weddell seals and measured arterial and venous N(2) tensions from captive elephant seals compressed in a hyperbaric chamber. Pulmonary compression resulted in a rapid spike in Pa(O)(2) and arterial CO(2) tension, followed by cyclical variation with a periodicity determined by Q(tot). The model showed that changes in diving lung volume are an efficient behavioural means to adjust the extent of gas exchange with depth. Differing models of lung compression and collapse depth caused major differences in blood and tissue N(2) estimates. Our integrated modelling approach contradicted predictions from simple models, and emphasised the complex nature of physiological interactions between circulation, lung compression and gas exchange. Overall, our work suggests the need for caution in interpretation of previous model results based on assumed collapse depths and all-or-nothing lung collapse models.
Fahlman, A; Hooker, SK; Olszowka, A; Bostrom, BL; Jones, DR
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