Position affects distribution of ventilation in the lungs of older people: an experimental study

Krieg S, Alison J, Mc Carren B, Cowell S

What is the effect of sitting and side lying on the distribution of ventilation during tidal breathing in healthy older people ?

Randomised, within-patient study of ten healthy adults aged 65+.

Intervention: tidal breathing during sitting and right side lying.

Outcome Measures: distribution of ventilation as a percentage of total counts using Technetium-99m Technegas lung ventilation imaging.

Results: in sitting the ratio of the distribution of ventilation to apical: middle: basal: regions was 1:3.5:3.3 in the right lung and 1:2.9:2.3 in the left lung. In right side lying, 32% more ventilation was distributed to the right lung. The ratio of the distribution of ventilation to apical: middle: basal : regions was 1:2.8:2.2 in the right lung and 1: 2.4:1.9 in the left.

Conclusion: In both sitting and right side lying, ventilation was distributed more to the middle than to the basal region, which may be related to age associated changes in the respiratory system.

Australian Journal of Physiotherapy 2007  53: 179-84.

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