Recruitment of lung diffusing capacity: Update of concept and application

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Lung diffusing capacity (DL) for carbon monoxide (DLCO), nitric oxide (DLNO) or oxygen (DLO2) increases from rest to peak exercise without reaching an upper limit; this recruitment results from interactions among alveolar volume (VA), and cardiac output (Q̇), as well as changing physical properties and spatial distribution of capillary erythrocytes, and is critical for maintaining a normal arterial oxygen saturation. DLCO and DLNO can be used to interpret the effectiveness of diffusive oxygen transport and track structural alterations of the alveolar-capillary barrier, providing sensitive noninvasive indicators of microvascular integrity in health and disease. Clinical interpretation of DL should take into account Q̇ in addition to VA and hemoglobin concentration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1774-1783
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002


  • Cardiac output
  • Diffusion-perfusion ratio
  • Erythrocyte
  • Exercise
  • Hypoxemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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