A mathematical model of the human ventilatory response to isocapnic hypoxia.
Painter R., Khamnei S., Robbins P.
A mathematical model of the ventilatory response to a period of sustained isocapnic hypoxia in humans has been developed. After a step into hypoxia, there is an initial rapid increase in ventilation (on-transient) followed by a slow decline. At the relief of hypoxia, there is a rapid decrease in ventilation (off-transient); the magnitude of this off-transient is smaller than that of the on-transient. Previously, the asymmetry between the on- and off-transients has been dealt with by modeling the steps into and out of hypoxia separately. The current objective was to model the whole of the response by allowing the peripheral sensitivity to hypoxia to decline during the sustained exposure to hypoxia. The model was fitted to breath-by-breath data from 20-min periods of hypoxia (end-tidal oxygen 50 Torr) at two different levels of end-tidal carbon dioxide tension from five subjects. The model was able to describe the features of the ventilatory changes well, including the slow decline and the asymmetry.