The dimensions, composition, and stiffness of the airway wall are important determinants of airway cross-sectional area during dynamic collapse in a forced expiration or when airway smooth muscle is constricted. Under these circumstances, airway caliber is determined by an interaction between the forces acting to open the airway (parenchymal tension and wall stiffness) and those acting to close it (smooth-muscle force and surface tension at the inner gas-liquid interface). Experimental measurements and theoretical models of the airway tube law (relationship between cross-sectional area and transmural pressure) are presented. Data are presented for the elastic properties of the wall tissue. Simulations of airway constriction in normal and asthmatic airways are discussed. To the extent possible, comparisons are presented between the various models and existing experimental data.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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