Extrathoracic portion of the airway can be defined as the upper airway (UAW) which serves both alimentary and respiratory functions. It accounts for a significant portion of the dead space and total airway resistance. Activation of UAW muscles must be precisely coordinated to achieve the desired results in several complex motor acts such as respiration, airway protection, phonation, mastication and swallowing. A patent UAW is vital for survival. This review critically evaluates key factors that influence UAW patency with special emphasis on the neonate.
Keywords: Upper airway, neonate, airway patency, genioglossus, airway afferents, arousal, laryngeal pressure, hypercapnia, Extrathoracic portion, posterior cricoarytenoid
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