The factors determining maximum expiratory flow and maximum inspiratory flow of the lung are reviewed with particular reference to a model which compares the lung on forced expiration to a Starling resistor. The theoretical significance of the slope of the expiratory maximum flow-volume curve is discussed. A method of comparing maximum expiratory flow with maximum inspiratory flow at similar lung volumes is suggested; this may be applied either to a maximum flow-volume curve or to a forced expiratory and inspiratory spirogram.
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