Until recently, the bronchial circulation has been relatively ignored in the research and clinical arenas, perhaps because of its small volume and seeming dispensability relative to the pulmonary circulation. Although the bronchial circulation only receives around 1% of the cardiac output in health, it serves functions that are critical to maintaining airway and lung function. The bronchial circulation also plays an important role in many lung and airway diseases; through its ability to increase in size, the bronchial circulation is able to provide lung parenchymal perfusion when the pulmonary circulation is compromised, and more recently the role of the bronchial circulation in the pathogenesis of inflammatory airway disease has been explored. Due to the anatomic variability and small volume of the bronchial circulation, much of the research to date has necessitated the use of animal models and invasive procedures. More recently, non-invasive techniques for measuring bronchial blood flow in the mucosal microvascular network have been developed and offer a new avenue for the study of this circulation in humans. In conjunction with molecular research, measurement of airway blood flow (Q̇aw) may help elucidate the role of the bronchial circulation in inflammatory airway disease and become a useful tool for monitoring therapy.
- Airway blood flow
- Airway inflammation
- Airway remodeling
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine