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Effect of Barometric Pressure on the Pulmonary System

by Thad Wilson, PhD
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    In this lecture, we’re going to talk about barometric pressure and how it affects the pulmonary system. We have a number of important learning goals to go through. After this lecture, you will be able to identify the major physiological responses to both acute and chronic increases in barometric pressure as well as specific aspects of breath hold-diving. In this lecture, we will also be able to identify the major physiological responses to decreases in barometric pressure both in acute and chronic conditions. Finally, we’ll go through the important and very interesting process of understanding the pathophysiology of altitude illnesses including acute mountain sickness, high altitude cerebral edema and high altitude pulmonary edema. Okay, let’s talk about high barometric pressures first. To do that, what we’re going to do is talk about increases in barometric pressure. Barometric pressure increases as you go beneath the level of the water. So at sea level, you may have a barometric pressure of around 760 millimeters of mercury. As you go only 30 meters underneath the water, you will double the barometric pressure. What kind of changes happen when you do breath hold-diving? There’s both an increase in the amount of barometric pressure, but what that also does is changes the volume with in the lungs. So if you started out with a volume of let’s say 6 liters. If you go 30 meters underneath the water, you will decrease that in half to only 3 liters. During the ascent or the process of you going back to the surface of the water, pressure will start to decrease and lung volume will increase and this just is a process of the physics involved with high barometric pressures. I have a good example for you that hopefully will emphasize the importance of understanding how barometric...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Effect of Barometric Pressure on the Pulmonary System by Thad Wilson, PhD is from the course Respiratory Physiology. It contains the following chapters:

    • Breath-hold Diving
    • Breath Hold
    • PO2 Calculations
    • Acute Mountain Sickness
    • HACE
    • HAPE
    • Learning Outcomes

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Increases gas partial pressures in the lungs
    2. Decreases gas partial pressures in the lungs
    3. Increases gas volume in the lungs
    4. Decreases gas partial pressures in the blood
    1. Increases mean pulmonary artery pressure
    2. Decreases the rate and depth of breathing
    3. Increases the partial pressure gradient of oxygen
    4. Decreases hemoglobin concentration

    Author of lecture Effect of Barometric Pressure on the Pulmonary System

     Thad Wilson, PhD

    Thad Wilson, PhD


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