Non-uniform central airways ventilation model based on vascular segmentation
Mechanical interdependence between intrapulmonary structures and parenchyma has not been studied previously in immature postnatal lungs. To study these interactions, lung elastic moduli were measured by pressure-volume and punch indentation studies in lobes excised from 3-day-old (n = 6), 1-month-old (n = 6), and 3-month-old (n = 7) piglets. After extra-alveolar arteries were filled with a radiopaque fluid silicone compound, transpulmonary pressure and arterial pressure were varied independently as the lobar vein was occluded. Arterial diameters and lengths were measured from radiographs. Behavior of 3-month-old lungs was consistent with previous studies of adult lungs, but results were unique in 3-day-old lungs. That is, during stepwise deflation of the immature lungs 1) intravascular pressures fell when arteries were occluded experimentally, 2) arteries increased their diameters when kept at a constant intravascular pressure, and 3) arterial lengths decreased by less than 3%. Behavior of 1-month-old lungs was intermediate. A previous continuum mechanics analysis of pressure-diameter behavior was modified to account for compression by alveolar pressure as vascular diameters increase. It was concluded that 1) radial and axial dimensions of extra-alveolar arteries are virtually independent of parenchymal expansion in newborn piglet lungs and 2) periarterial interstitial pressures increase as these lungs are inflated. Our interpretation of these findings is that a mechanical association of the arteries to the parenchyma occurs gradually with postnatal maturation.