Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 9, Issue 5–6, pp 593–604 | Cite as

Aerosol deposition and clearance in the human upper airways

  • David L. Swift
Respiratory Particle Transport


The human upper respiratory tract, defined here as the airways above the trachea, is the portal of entry for airborne particles. Whether inhaled particles reach the bronchial or alveolated airways or are deposited in the upper airways (nasal or oral passage) depends upon a number of factors which are discussed in this paper. These factors can be divided into two groups: those which relate to the air flow properties and those which relate to the particles. If these factors are known to a sufficient degree, the regional deposition efficiency of the inhaled particles can be estimated. Particles once deposited in the upper airway are cleared by one of several mechanisms depending on the type of particle, site of deposition and functional state of the airway surface. The clearance processes and their importance for various particles are discussed.


Respiratory Tract Functional State Flow Property Deposition Efficiency Airborne Particle 


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Copyright information

© Pergamon Press Ltd. 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • David L. Swift
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Hygiene and Public HealthJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore

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