Determinants of Pulmonary Blood Flow Distribution
Published Online: 1 NOV 2010
Copyright © 2011 American Physiological Society. All rights reserved.
How to Cite
Glenny, R. W. and Robertson, H. T. 2010. Determinants of Pulmonary Blood Flow Distribution. Comprehensive Physiology. 1:39–59.
- Published Online: 1 NOV 2010
The primary function of the pulmonary circulation is to deliver blood to the alveolar capillaries to exchange gases. Distributing blood over a vast surface area facilitates gas exchange, yet the pulmonary vascular tree must be constrained to fit within the thoracic cavity. In addition, pressures must remain low within the circulatory system to protect the thin alveolar capillary membranes that allow efficient gas exchange. The pulmonary circulation is engineered for these unique requirements and in turn these special attributes affect the spatial distribution of blood flow. As the largest organ in the body, the physical characteristics of the lung vary regionally, influencing the spatial distribution on large-, moderate-, and small-scale levels. © 2011 American Physiological Society. Compr Physiol 1:39-59, 2011..