Tracheal Burning from Hot Air Inhalation
Cossell, Christina; Ma, Jan; Spindel, Samantha; Wang, Yang
Burns in the trachea from inhaling hot gases are a common occurrence and threaten the recovery of fire victims. Inhalation injury is also one of the most common causes of death, especially among children and the elderly. The thermal injury to the respiratory tract is usually limited to the upper respiratory tract, mainly the trachea. A better understanding of the interplay between transient temperature and injury distribution over the trachea may help to direct treatments in the future. Our goal is to model burns in tracheal tissue as a function of time, inhalation temperature, and inhalation velocity. The objective is to understand how variations in those variables affect tracheal injury. The velocity of air in the trachea varies as a function of time due to inspiration and expiration. As a result, the air temperature fluctuates in a cyclical manner. Since the burn concentration is a function of temperature, the extent of the burn rises as temperature increases with inspiration and remains constant as temperature decreases during expiration. Our model shows burn concentration is limited to the entrance to the trachea and the surface of the trachea.