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Airway sizes and proportions in children quantified by a video-bronchoscopic technique

Author(s): Masters Ian | Ware Robert | Zimmerman Paul | Lovell Brian | Wootton Richard | Francis Paul | Chang Anne

Journal: BMC Pulmonary Medicine
ISSN 1471-2466

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 5;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Abstract Background A quantitative understanding of airway sizes and proportions and a reference point for comparisons are important to a pediatric bronchoscopist. The aims of this study were to measure large airway areas, and define proportions and factors that influence airway size in children. Methods A validated videobronchoscope technique was used to measure in-vivo airway cross-sectional areas (cricoid, right (RMS) and left (LMS) main stem and major lobar bronchi) of 125 children. Airway proportions were calculated as ratios of airways to cricoid areas and to endotracheal tube (ETT) areas. Mann Whitney U, T-tests, and one-way ANOVA were used for comparisons and standard univariate and backwards, stepwise multivariate regression analyses were used to define factors that influence airway size. Results Airways size increased progressively with increasing age but proportions remained constant. The LMS was 21% smaller than the RMS. Gender differences in airways' size were not significant in any age group or airway site. Cricoid area related best to body length (BL): cricoid area (mm2) = 26.782 + 0.254* BL (cm) while the RMS and LMS area related best to weight: RMS area (mm2) = 23.938 + 0.394*Wt (kg) and LMS area (mm2) = 20.055 + 0.263*Wt (kg) respectively. Airways to cricoid ratios were larger than airway to ETT ratios (p = 0.0001). Conclusion The large airways progressively increase in cross sectional area size, maintain constant proportional relationships to the cricoid and are gender independent across childhood. Anthropometric factors (body length and weight) are significantly related to but only have weakly predictive influences on major airway size. The cricoid is the most suitable comparator for other airway site measurements. These data provide for quantitative comparisons of airway lesions.
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