An Analysis of the Components of the Pulmonary Shunt Equation: Significance of the Alveolar-arterial Oxygen Gradient, Arterio-venous Oxygen Content Difference, and Mixed Venous Oxygen Pressure

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Pulmonary shunt calculated by the Berggren method is commonly used as an indicator of pulmonary function. Although there is usually a good correlation between the shunt and the A-aDO2, other physiologic parameters involved in the shunt equation may significantly alter pulmonary function. The purpose of this study is to show the contribution of the PvO2 and a – v diff to the shunt equation. Data from eight selected patients with A – aDo2 values ranging from 300 to 395 torr and calculated shunts ranging from 6 to 35% were selected for this purpose.

In patients with significant changes in PvO2 and a – v diff, the A – aDO2 is more reliable as an indicator of pulmonary function than is the calculated shunt.

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