Analysis of lung parenchyma as a parametric porous medium

Boris Lande, Wayne Mitzner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The dynamic behavior of the lung in health and disease depends on its viscoelastic properties. To better understand these properties, several mathematical models have been utilized by many investigators. In the present work, we present a new approach that characterizes the dynamics of gas flow into a viscoelastic porous medium that models the lung structure. This problem is considered in terms of the lung input impedance on a macro level and parenchymal tissue impedance on the level of an alveolar wall. We start from a basic theoretical analysis in which macroscopic tissue deformations are represented in accordance with the linearized Navier-Stokes equations. This approach has strong theoretical underpinnings in other situations but has not been applied to analyze the impedance of the inflated lung. Our analysis provides a theoretical basis for analyzing the interaction between flow into the lungs as a biophysical diffusion process and parenchymal viscoelasticity described phenomenologically, within the frameworks of standard viscoelasticity and structural damping. This lung impedance incorporates parameters of porosity, permeability, and viscoelasticity on micro and macro levels of parenchymal tissue. The analysis shows the theoretical basis of the transformation from the impedance of alveolar walls or isolated tissue strips to that of the intact parenchyma. We also show how the loading impedance at the lung boundary may have a significant impact on the dynamic behavior of whole lung viscoelasticity. Our analysis may be useful in directing specific tests of different models and for analyzing experimental measurements of viscoelastic parameters of lung material under normal and pathological conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)926-933
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006


  • Admittance
  • Impedance
  • Resistance
  • Structural damping
  • Tissue resistance
  • Viscoelasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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