Capillary perfusion patterns in single alveolar walls

O. Okada, R. G. Presson, K. R. Kirk, P. S. Godbey, R. L. Capen, W. W. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


We studied capillary perfusion patterns in single alveolar walls through a transparent thoracic window implanted in pentobarbital-anesthetized dogs. The capillaries were maximally opened by brief inflation of a balloon in the left atrium to raise pressure. After the balloon was deflated and pulmonary hemodynamics returned to zone 2 baseline conditions, the capillaries that remained perfused in the observed field were videotaped with the use of in vivo microscopy. The cycle of elevated pressure and baseline observation was repeated three times. Perfusion of different capillaries during each of the observations would imply that the capillaries had characteristics that permitted flow to switch between segments. Perfusion of a specific set of pathways through the network each time would demonstrate that flowing blood sought a unique and repeatable combination of segments, presumably with the least total pathway resistance. We found that the same capillary segments were perfused 79% of the time, a strong indication that a reproducible combination of individual segmental resistances determined the predominant pattern of pulmonary capillary perfusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1838-1844
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992


  • capillary recruitment
  • capillary resistances
  • dogs
  • pulmonary capillaries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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    Okada, O., Presson, R. G., Kirk, K. R., Godbey, P. S., Capen, R. L., & Wagner, W. W. (1992). Capillary perfusion patterns in single alveolar walls. Journal of Applied Physiology, 72(5), 1838-1844.