We recorded static deflation pressure-volume (PV) curves from near TLC to FRC in 49 healthy, sedated, spontaneously breathing infants of 1 to 104 wk of age. Respiratory activity was transiently inhibited by inflating the respiratory system several times to a volume at an airway pressure of 30 cm H2O (V30). Passive deflation from V30 to FRC was then interrupted by multiple brief occlusions at the airway opening, in order to measure static recoil pressures. The expired volume from V30 to FRC was defined as V30E. Compliance of the respiratory system (Crs) was calculated as the slope of the linear portion of the PV curve from 5 to 15 cm H2O. Crs and V30E increased with increasing body length (p < 0.001). After adjustment for body length, males had greater Crs values than did females (p < 0.01). V30E was smaller in female infants (p < 0.05) and in infants whose mothers smoked during pregnancy (p < 0.04). Specific compliance (Crs/V30E) declined with increasing age (p < 0.01), but there were no differences related to sex or maternal smoking. We conclude that static deflation PV curves can be recorded in the age range from 1 to 104 wk, and that maternal smoking may produce hypoplastic lungs.
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