Compliance describes the distensibility of the respiratory system, very much similar to the cardiovascular system. Compliance is a measure change in lung volume for a given change in pressure - this describes “how stiff” the lung is which is inversely correlated with elastance, i.e. the force causing the lung to recoil and expire. Normally, the chest wall has a negative pressure which is created by opposing forces pulling on the intrapleural space. When these forces pull on the space, a negative pressure is created. During inspiration, the pressure in the lung decreases and air moves to fill the lung back to atmospheric pressure. This causes distention of the lung which is equal to compliance.
Summary of Compliance of lungs and chest wall
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