Modelling impact-initiated wave transmission through lung parenchyma in relation to the aetiology of exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage


Department of Biological and Medical Systems, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London SW7 2BX


Recently we proposed that exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH) results from locomotory-impact-induced trauma by impact of the scapula on the chest wall during footfall and the consequent transmission of waves through the lung. A computational model has been developed to demonstrate that wave amplification and focusing occur in the dorsocaudal tip of the lung for waves originating on the anterior subscapular surface. The propagation of an acoustic wave was investigated in a simplified 2-dimensional representation of a vertical anterio-dorsal section of horse lung. It was demonstrated that a complicated pattern of waves is transmitted from the scapula to the dorsal region. Wave motion was characterised using the instantaneous rate of change of pressure with time (dp/dt) which is associated with lung injury. Due to wave reflection and focusing, dp/dt is transiently very high on the spinal and diaphragmatic lung walls, particularly in the vicinity of the dorsal tip. The model therefore predicts that lung injury may occur in the region in which EIPH is reported to originate.