A mathematical simulation of the maximum expiratory flow-volume (MEFV) curve was developed using a lumped parameter model. The model uses a theoretical approximation of an activation function representing the lung's pressure-volume relationship during maximally forced expiration. The waveforms obtained by the model were compared to the flow-volume curves recorded from normal subjects and for patients with small airways disease, asthma, and emphysema. We were able to reproduce the flow-volume curves using the model and calculate new parameters that reflect the dependency of airways resistance on expired volume during FVC manoeuvre. These new parameters are based on the entire information presented in the flow-volume curve and on the reduction in flow at all lung volumes. We also calculated the mean slope of the resistance-expired volume curves b obtained from the model by fitting a straight line to the curve. Using representative data for normal and COPD patients different mean slopes of 0.095, 0.13, 0.49 and 1.44 litre-1 were obtained for normal subject, small airways disease, asthma and emphysema patients, respectively. The model-based parameters may be applicable to human studies. However, further studies in large groups of patients are required to better define the true predictive value of the new indices described for the diagnosis of COPD.
- Maximum expiratory flow-volume
- mathematical model