anatomical airway -->
anatomical dead space
medical dictionary

The volume of the conducting airways from the external environment (at the nose and mouth) down to the level at which inspired gas exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide with pulmonary capillary blood; formerly presumed to extend down to the beginning of alveolar epithelium in the respiratory bronchioles, but more recent evidence indicates that effective gas exchange extends some distance up the thicker-walled conducting airways because of rapid longitudinal mixing.

Compare: alveolar dead space, physiologic dead space.

Synonyms: anatomical airway.

(05 Mar 2000)