We describe a method of separately determining the volumes of the right and left lungs from conventional chest radiographs and of determining the volumes of individual lobes and pathological spaces, whenever their boundaries are visible radiologically or can be displayed scintigraphically--for example, during fibreoptic bronchoscopy. Scintigrams of individual lungs, lobes, and segments are obtained by deflecting a stream of air marked with 81m krypton down the suction channel of the bronchoscope into the appropriate bronchus during inspiration, followed by a breath-hold during which the image is recorded with a gamma camera. Both radiographic and scintigraphic methods have been validated by comparison with argon dilution estimates of individual lung and lobar volumes also obtained at bronchoscopy, and results for the three methods in normal subjects are presented. Used in conjunction with bronchoscopic soluble gas uptake studies, these volume measurements permit precise estimation of effective perfusion, tissue and water volume, and gas transfer at lobar and segmental level. Individual lung and lobar volumes can be used to quantify lung and lobar collapse and compression, mediastinal shift, regional ventilation and gas trapping, and phrenic paresis.
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