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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2000 Mar;88(3):1043-50.

Integrated response of the upper and lower respiratory tract of asthmatic subjects to frigid air.

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Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.


To evaluate the influence of cold air hyperpnea on integrated upper and lower airway behavior, 22 asthmatic volunteers hyperventilated through their mouths (OHV) and noses (NHV) while pulmonary and nasal function were determined individually and in combination. In the isolated studies, OHV at a minute ventilation of 65 +/- 3 l/min lowered the 1-s forced expiratory volume (FEV(1)) 24 +/- 2% (P < 0. 001) and NHV (40 l/min) induced a 31 +/- 9% (P < 0.001) increase in nasal resistance (NR). In the combined studies, oral hyperpnea reduced the FEV(1) (DeltaFEV(1) 26 +/- 2%, P < 0.001) and evoked a significant rise in NR (DeltaNR 26 +/- 9%, P = 0.01). In contrast, NHV only affected the upper airway. NR rose 33 +/- 9% (P = 0.01), but airway caliber did not change (DeltaFEV(1) 2%, P = 0.27). The results of this investigation demonstrate that increasing the transfer of heat and water in the lower respiratory tract alters bronchial and nasal function in a linked fashion. Forcing the nose to augment its heat-exchanging activity, however, reduces nasal caliber but has no effect on the intrathoracic airways.

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