Correlation of nasal morphology to air-conditioning and clearance function
Nasal morphology plays an important functional role in the maintenance of upper airway health. Identification of functional regions, based on morphological attributes, assists in correlating location to primary purpose. The effects of morphological variation on heat and water mass transport in congested and patent nasal airways were investigated by examining nasal cross-sectional MRI images from 8 healthy subjects. This research confirms the previous identification of functional air-conditioning regions within the nose. The first is the anterior region where the morphology prevents over-stressing of tissue heat and fluid supply near the nares. The second is the mid region where low flow velocity favours olfaction and particle deposition. The third is the posterior region which demonstrates an increase in heat and water mass flux coefficients to compensate for rising air humidity and temperature. Factors identified within the congested airway that favour enhanced mucocillary clearance were also identified.