We investigated the role of changes in pulmonary function in posturally induced crackles (PIC) in 76 patients with various heart diseases. Regional ventilation was evaluated by spirometric gated ventilation scanning using 133Xe in 23 of these patients and its relationship to PIC was analyzed. A change from the sitting to the supine position was associated with a significant decrease in the percent functional residual capacity (FRC, p < 0.01) and significant increases in closing volume (CV), CV/vital capacity (VC) and closing capacity (CC)/FRC (p < 0.01) in the PIC-positive subjects. CV, CV/VC and CC/FRC did not differ significantly between PIC-positive (n = 37) and PIC-negative (n = 39) subjects in the sitting position, but in the supine position, these values were significantly higher in the PIC-positive group than in the PIC-negative group (CV: p < 0.05, CV/VC and CC/FRC: p < 0.01). These results suggest that airway closure was markedly increased in PIC-positive subjects in the supine position compared with PIC-negative subjects. Regional ventilation (V) was assessed in the sitting and the supine position from right lateral images divided into 9 segments from the base to the apex of the lung using spirometric gated ventilation scanning. There was no significant difference in regional ventilation in the sitting position between PIC-negative (n = 11) and PIC-positive (n = 12) subjects; in the supine position, regional ventilation decreased significantly at the base in the PIC-positive group. Findings suggest that PIC at the base of the lungs may be related to airway closure at the base of the lungs in the supine position in PIC-positive subjects.

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