What is total lung capacity?

Dr. Robin Miller, MD
Internal Medicine
The total lung capacity (TLC) is the most air that you can inspire into your lungs. It is made up of the following:
  • Tidal volume (TV): the usual amount of air that you breathe in and out of your lungs with a normal breath
  • Inspiratory Reserve Volume (IRV): additional air that you can force into your lungs after you breathe in the tidal volume
  • Expiratory reserve volume (ERV): after you breathe out normally, the ERV is additional air that you can force out
  • Residual volume (RV): the air that remains in your lungs after you force out as much as possible
Therefore: Total Lung Capacity= TV+IRV+RV+ERV

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