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Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2009 Sep 15;6(6):513-20. doi: 10.1513/pats.200905-024CB.

Developmental aspects of the upper airway: report from an NHLBI Workshop, March 5-6, 2009.

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  • 1Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


The upper airway serves three important functions: respiration, swallowing, and speech. During development it undergoes significant structural and functional changes that affect its size, shape, and mechanical properties. Abnormalities of the upper airway require prompt attention, because these often alter ventilatory patterns and gas exchange, particularly during sleep when upper airway motor tone and ventilatory drive are diminished. Recognizing the relationship of early life events to lung health and disease, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), with cofunding from the Office of Rare Diseases (ORD), convened a workshop of extramural experts, from many disciplines. The objective of the workshop was: (1) to review the state of science in pediatric upper airway disorders; (2) to make recommendations to the Institute to fill knowledge gaps; (3) to prioritize new research directions; and (4) to capitalize on scientific opportunities. This report provides recommendations that could facilitate translation of basic research findings into practice to better diagnose, treat, and prevent airway compromise in children.

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