Measuring Lung Capacity

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  • Measuring Lung Capacity
    • Different elements of lung volume
      • Tidal Volume - is the volume of air moved during breathing at rest
      • Vital Capacity -  is the largest volume of air that can be moved into and out of the lungs in any one breath
      • Residual Volume -  the volume of air that always remains in the lungs
      • Inspiratory Reserve Volume - is how much air can be breathed in above the tidal volume
      • Expiratory Reserve Volume - is how much air can be breathed out above the tidal volume
    • Spirometer
      • Consists of a chamber filled with oxygen that floats on a tank of water
      • A person breathes from a disposable mouthpiece attached to a tube connected to the chamber of oxygen
      • Breathing in takes oxygen from the chamber which then sinks down.
      • Breathing out pushes air into the chamber, which then floats up
      • The movements of the chamber are recorded using a datalogger so that a spirometer trace can be produced
      • The person breathing in and out of the spirometer can be asked to breathe normally at rest, take deep breaths or to do some exercise so that different patterns of breathing can be shown
    • Measuring oxygen uptake
      • If someone breaths in and out of a spirometer for a period of time, the level of carbon dioxide will increase dangerously
        • To avoid this, soda lime is used to absorb the carbon dioxide exhaled.


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