Many patients with chronic simple bronchitis, viz., chronic productive cough without major airway obstruction, frequently show enhanced aerosol deposition in the airways. We hypothesized that this phenomenon might relate in part to wave motion of an accumulated layer of mucus caused by dynamic, two-phase gas-liquid interactions. In the present investigation, two-phase gas-liquid interaction was demonstrated in vivo by observing wave motion during tidal breathing of radiopaque-labeled viscous and viscoelastic fluids that had been added to distal tracheas of conscious sheep. Total aerosol deposition in the lung and mean pulmonary resistance (RL) were measured after addition of 4 to 10 ml of viscoelastic or viscous fluids to the distal main bronchi of conscious sheep. Change in aerosol deposition over baseline after fluid addition was compared with change in RL. In 21 experiments, 5 for each of 3 viscoelastic fluids with varying characteristics and 6 for a viscous fluid, aerosol deposition was significantly enhanced in every experiment, irrespective of the type of fluid added. This increase in aerosol deposition ranged from 13 to 66% above baseline. The RL increased in 5 of the 6 experiments with viscous fluid and in 4 of the 15 experiments with viscoelastic fluids. There was less wavelike motion with viscous than with viscoelastic fluids. These results suggest that two-phase gas-liquid interaction in the airways can account for increased aerosol deposition with little alteration in airway resistance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine