Fractal analysis of lung fluid flow

  • James E. McNamee
Conference paper


The human lung brings a continuous flow of blood into close proximity with a cyclic flow of air so that respiratory gases can readily diffuse between these two fluids. Nature has created an intricate arrangement of spaces to accomplish this task. A 3-dimensional cylinder of venous blood leaving the right ventricle is transformed into a nearly 2-dimensional film of blood by the time it arrives at the alveolus. At the same time, a bolus of inhaled air is divided into smaller streams and pockets until its surface area approaches 100 m2. Both processes distribute a fluid through a repeatedly bifurcating network. The configuration of these networks as well as their relative sizes have been difficult to summarize using the conventional language of Euclidean geometry [7].


Fractal Dimension Tissue Perfusion Parent Vessel Flow Heterogeneity Fractal Object 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • James E. McNamee
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of South Carolina School of MedicineColumbiaUSA

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