Oronasal distribution of ventilation at different ages

David S. James, William E. Lambert, Christine M. Mermier, Thomas W. Chick, Christine A. Stidley, Jonathan M. Samet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The route of breathing, oral or nasal, is a determinant of the doses of inhaled pollutants delivered to target sites in the upper and lower respiratory tracts. We measured partitioning of ventilation, using a divided oronasal mask during a submaximal exercise test, in 37 male and female subjects who ranged in age from 7 to 72 y. The following four patterns of breathing were evident during exercise: (1) nasal only (13.5%), nasal shifting to oronasal (40.5%), oronasal only (40.5%), and oral only (5.4%). Children (i.e., 7–16 y of age) displayed more variability than adults with respect to their patterns of ventilation with exercise. Young adults (i.e., 17–30 y of age) who initially breathed nasally with exercise switched to oral ventilation at a lower percentage of the previously measured maximum ventilation (10.8%) than older subjects (31.8%). The partitioning of ventilation between the nasal and oral routes follows complex patterns that cannot be predicted readily by the age, gender, or nasal airway resistance of the subject.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-123
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Environmental Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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