Fourteen patients undergoing single aortic or mitral valve replacement had measurements made of lung volumes, static pressure-volume (P-V) relationships, and conductance-pressure relationships during deflation before operation and again between one and two years later. At follow-up, total lung capacity (TLC), functional residual capacity (FRC), residual volume (RV), and static tidal compliance (slope of static P-V deflation line for one litre above FRC) had increased significantly, in association with a decrease in heart size. There was a change in the shape and position of some P-V curves both in the aortic and mitral patients. In the patients with aortic disease P-V deflation curves shifted to the left after operation. In the patients with mitral disease the P-V deflation curves before operation crossed those measured after operation, so that at high lung volumes recoil became less after operation, but at low lung volumes recoil increased. Conductance had increased at high lung volumes. The data suggest that in longstanding pulmonary congestion, airways are more rigid making them less distensible at high and less compressible at low transpulmonary pressures than after operation when congestion has been at least partly relieved.
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