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2. End-tidal gas. In a clinical setting, it is possible to estimate the mean alveolar gas concentrations.
A model was developed which subdivided into 5 parts the total volume of air exhaled after the breath-hold manoeuver was developed. The instantaneous concentration of tracer gas methane was considered in each quintile; the calculation of the alveolar volume was consequently derived and compared with that derived from the traditional method according to the ATS-ERS recommendations. A significant difference was found between these two ways of measuring the alveolar volume, and the results showed significant differences in COPD patients. The conclusion drawn is that sampling at the beginning of exhalation of the single breath-test is not representative of the real mean alveolar gas concentration.