European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 99, Issue 6, pp 567–583 | Cite as

Closing volume: a reappraisal (1967–2007)

  • Joseph Milic-Emili
  • Roberto Torchio
  • Edgardo D’Angelo
Review Article


Measurement of closing volume (CV) allows detection of presence or absence of tidal airway closure, i.e. cyclic opening and closure of peripheral airways with concurrent (1) inhomogeneity of distribution of ventilation and impaired gas exchange; and (2) risk of peripheral airway injury. Tidal airway closure, which can occur when the CV exceeds the end-expiratory lung volume (EELV), is commonly observed in diseases characterised by increased CV (e.g. chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma) and/or decreased EELV (e.g. obesity, chronic heart failure). Risk of tidal airway closure is enhanced by ageing. In patients with tidal airway closure (CV > EELV) there is not only impairment of pulmonary gas exchange, but also peripheral airway disease due to injury of the peripheral airways. In view of this, the causes and consequences of tidal airway closure are reviewed, and further studies are suggested. In addition, assessment of the “open volume”, as opposed to the “closing volume”, is proposed because it is easier to perform and it requires less equipment.


Lung volumes  Closing volume Peripheral airway injury 



Airway closure


Bronchoalveolar lavage


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease


Closing capacity


Chronic heart failure


Closing volume


End-expiratory lung volume


Expiratory flow limitation


European Respiratory Society


Expiratory reserve volume


Flow limitation


Functional residual capacity


Forced vital capacity


Forced expiratory volume in 1 s


Inspiratory capacity


Mechanical ventilation


Negative end expiratory pressure


Exhaled NO concentration


Open capacity


Partial arterial oxygen pressure


Peripheral airway disease


Peripheral airway injury


Maximal closing pressure


Minimal closing pressure


Transpulmonary pressure


Maximal opening pressure


Pleural surface pressure


Positive end expiratory pressure


Partial oxygen pressure


Residual volume


Trapped gas volume


Total lung capacity


Tumour necrosis factor alpha


Lung volume at P L of 30 cmH2O


Ventilator induced lung injury


Vaso intestinal peptide


Maximal flow




Ventilation perfusion ratio


Resting lung volume


Zero end expiratory pressure


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Milic-Emili
    • 1
  • Roberto Torchio
    • 2
  • Edgardo D’Angelo
    • 3
  1. 1.Meakins-Christie LaboratoriesMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Laboratorio Indagini Funzionali Cardio-RespiratorieFisiopatologia Respiratoria ASO San Luigi GonzagaTorinoItaly
  3. 3.Istituto di Fisiologia Umana IUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly

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