The effect of anaesthesia on total, pulmonary and chest wall static respiratory compliance was investigated in healthy spontaneously breathing dogs undergoing orthopaedic surgery. Total compliance fell by 26 per cent from the baseline measurement within 25 minutes of the first measurement (P less than 0.01), while pulmonary and chest wall compliances fell by 34 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively (P less than 0.01). Pulmonary compliance ceased to fall after 50 minutes, but chest wall compliance was still declining after 70 minutes. The decline in compliance could be prevented by periodic full lung inflation, with a significant difference being found between inflated and uninflated dogs (P less than 0.01). The reduction in compliance during anaesthesia is believed to be a consequence of reduced functional residual capacity and the development of lung tissue atelectasis.
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