Intrapleural fluid movements described by a porous flow model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We injected technetium-labeled albumin (at a concentration similar to that of the pleural fluid) in the costal region of anesthetized dogs (n = 13) either breathing spontaneously or apneic. The decay rate of labeled activity at the injection site was studied with a gamma camera placed either in the anteroposterior (AP) or laterolateral (LL) projection. In breathing animals (respiratory frequency approximately 10 cycles/min), 10 min after the injection the activity decreased by approximately 50% on AP and approximately 20% on LL imaging; in apneic animals the corresponding decrease in activity was reduced to approximately 15 and approximately 3%, respectively. We considered label translocation from AP and LL imaging as a result of bulk flows of liquid along the costomediastinal and gravity-dependent direction, respectively. We related intrapleural flows to the hydraulic pressure gradients existing along these two directions and to the geometry of the pleural space. The pleural space was considered as a porous medium partially occupied by the mesh of microvilli protruding from mesothelial cells. Solution of the Kozeny-Carman equation for the observed flow velocities and pressure gradients yielded a mean hydraulic radius of the pathways followed by the liquid ranging from 2 to 4 microns. The hydraulic resistivity of the pleural space was estimated at approximately 8.5 x 10(5), five orders of magnitude lower than that of interstitial tissue.


  • G Miserocchi
  • Daniele Venturoli
  • D Negrini
  • M C Gilardi
  • R Bellina
External organisations
  • External Organization - Unknown
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physiology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2511-2516
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes