Computer determination of perfusion patterns in pulmonary capillary networks

Christopher C. Hanger, Robert G. Presson, Osamu Okada, Steven J. Janke, John J. Watkins, Wiltz W. Wagner, Ronald L. Capen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Individual pulmonary capillaries are not steadily perfused. By using in vivo microscopy, it can readily be demonstrated that perfusion continually switches between capillary segments and between portions of the network within a single alveolar wall. These changes in capillary perfusion occur even when upstream pressure and flow are constant. Flow switching between capillary segments in the absence of hemodynamic changes in large upstream vessels suggests that capillary perfusion patterns could be random. To calculate the probability that perfusion patterns could occur by chance, it is necessary to know the total number of possible perfusion patterns in a given capillary network. We developed a computer program that can determine every possible perfusion pattern for any given capillary network, and from that information we can calculate whether perfusion of individual segments in the network is random. With the results of the computer program, we have obtained statistical evidence that some capillary segments in a network are nonrandomly perfused.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1283-1289
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1997


  • capillary perfusion stability
  • capillary recruitment
  • computer modeling
  • dogs
  • Monte Carlo probability
  • probability
  • pulmonary circulation
  • random perfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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    Hanger, C. C., Presson, R. G., Okada, O., Janke, S. J., Watkins, J. J., Wagner, W. W., & Capen, R. L. (1997). Computer determination of perfusion patterns in pulmonary capillary networks. Journal of Applied Physiology, 82(4), 1283-1289.