Updated: 3/9/2015

Diffusion of Gases

Review Topic
  • Diffusion of Gases (Fick's Law)
    • gas exchange across cell membranes or capillary walls occurs by simple diffusion
    • Vx = [(D)(A)(ΔP)] / Δx
      • Vx = volume of gas transferred per unit time
      • D = diffusion coefficient of gas
        • depends on molecular weight (inversely proportional to square root) and solubility of gas
      • A = surface area
        • emphysema → ↓ A
          • alveolar destruction decreases surface area for gas exchange
      • ΔP = partial pressure difference of gas
        • driving force for simple diffusion of gas
      • Δx = thickness of membrane
        • pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary edema → ↑ Δx

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