In order to determine the frequency of hypoxaemia and to evaluate the role of increased closing capacity in producing hypoxaemia in patients with cirrhosis of the liver, 13 patients with well-established cirrhosis were studied. Arterial blood gases, spirometry, lung volume, and closing capacity measurements were made with the patients in the seated and recumbent positions after exclusion of cardiopulmonary dysfunction. Four of 13 and six of 12 patients exhibited significant hypoxaemia in the seated and recumbent positions respectively. Five of 13 patients showed a closing capacity greater than predicted. This frequency of increased closing capacity was not higher than in a group of smokers of the same age. Unlike Ruff et al. (1971), we did not find a consistent relationship between hypoxaemia and closing capacity.
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