An Analysis of the Sluicing Gate in Pulmonary Blood Flow

[+] Author and Article Information
Y. C. Fung

Department of AMES/Bioengineering, M-005, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, Calif. 92093

F. Y. Zhuang

Department of Biophysics, Clinical Medicine Institute, China-Japan Friendship Hospital, and Ancheng Hospital, Beijing, China

J Biomech Eng 108(2), 175-182 (May 01, 1986) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3138598 History: Received June 11, 1985; Revised January 10, 1986; Online June 12, 2009


For pulmonary blood flow in zone 2 condition, in which the blood pressure in the venule (p ven ) is lower than the alveolar gas pressure (pA ), the blood exiting from the capillary sheet and entering a venule must go through a sluicing gate. The sluicing gate exists because the venule remains patent [7] while the capillaries will collapse when the static pressure of blood falls below the alveolar gas pressure. In the original theory of sheet flow [4–6] the effect of the tension in the interalveolar septa on the flow through the sluicing gate was ignored. Since the tension multiplied by the curvature of the membrane is equivalent to a lateral pressure tending to open the gate, and since the curvature of the capillary wall is high in the gate region, this effect may be important. The present analysis improves the original theory and demonstrates that the effect of membrane tension is to cause flow to increase when the venous pressure continues to decrease. The shape of the sluicing gate resembles that of a venturi tube, and can be determined by an iterative integration of the differential equations. The result forms an important link in the theory of pulmonary blood flow in zone 2 condition.

Copyright © 1986 by ASME
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