Changes in pulmonary diffusing capacity and closing volume after running a marathon

Daniel S. Miles, Christopher E. Doerr, Steven A.Schonfeld, David E. Sinks, Robert W. Gotshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to evaluate changes in lung function after running a marathon. Pulmonary function tests were administered to 8 men before, immediately after, and the day following competition X ̄ run time = 3 hr 30 min). Subjects completed maximum expiratory flow volume maneurvers breathing air and 80% He/20% O2. Lung volumes were determined by N2 washout and single breath He dilution. Closing volumes (CV) were determined using a single breath O2 test. Pulmonary diffusing capacity (DLCO), pulmonary capillary blood volume (Vc), and membrane diffusing capacity (DM) were measured with the single breath technique. There were no changes in lung volumes or flow rates, except for an increase in FEV1, after the marathon. The He/O2 ΔV̇max50, ΔV̇max25, and isoflow values were similar pre- compared to post-race. There were significant decreases, however, in DLCO, DM and increases in CV prost-race. Vc remained similar to pre-race values. These results suggest that small airways obstruction does not occur after a marathon. The significant increase in alveolarcapillary membrane resistance, however, may reflect the occurence of subclinical edema. Such a change would decrease lung elastic recoil and could explain the increase in CV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-359
Number of pages11
JournalRespiration Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1983
Externally publishedYes


  • Airway obstruction
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Closing volume
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Residual volume
  • Total lung capacity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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