Abstract Alveolar sacs are primarily responsible for gas exchange in the human respiratory system and lose their functionality with aging. Three-dimensional (3D) models of young and old human alveolar sacs were constructed and fluid-solid interaction (FSI) was employed to investigate the contribution of age-related changes to decline in alveolar sacs function under mechanical ventilation (MV). Simulations results illustrated that compliance and pressure reduced in the alveolar sacs of the elderly, and they have to work harder to breathe. Morphological changes were found to be mainly responsible for the decline in alveolar sacs function. Influence of individual differences on the alveolar sacs function was negligible and 95% confidence intervals for compliance and WOB using measures from different individuals also support this finding. Moreover, higher mortality risk was recorded for elderly who undergo MV. Specifically, ventilator devices setting has been identified as a potential parameter for compromising respiratory function in the elderly. Volume-controlled ventilation applied less pressure, whereas, pressure-controlled ventilation resulted in higher compliance in the alveolar sacs and decreased work of breathing (WOB). Sensitivity of alveolar sacs to ventilator setting under the volume-controlled mode illustrated that increasing breathing frequency and decreasing the ratio of inhalation to exhalation times (I/E) and tidal volume (TV) caused an increase in alveolar sacs expansion and compliance in older patients. Results from this study can help clinicians to develop individualized and effective ventilator protocols and improve respiratory function in the elderly. Alveolar sacs, FSI, Age-related changes, MV setting, mode of MV © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: email@example.com. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biomedical Sciences and Medical Sciences – Oxford University Press
Published: May 9, 2018
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