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Eliminating Artificial Airway Divisions Enhances Patient Outcomes

  • Sujana S. Chandrasekhar
    Affiliations
    Consulting Editor, Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America, Past President, American Academy of Otolaryngology–, Head and Neck Surgery, Secretary-Treasurer and President-Elect, American Otological Society, Eastern Section Vice President, Triological Society Partner, ENT & Allergy Associates LLP, 18 East 48th Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10017, USA
    Clinical Professor, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra–Northwell, Hempstead, NY, USA
    Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA
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      Sujana S. Chandrasekhar, MD, FACS, FAAOHNS, Editor
      The concept of a unified airway is based on long-standing clinical observations that patients with lower airway disease have a high incidence of upper airway disease as well. In the last two decades, interest has increased in the relationship between the lower and the upper airways and the shared inflammation between the two. Dr Jack Krouse proposed three criteria in support of the theory of the unified airway
      • Krouse J.H.
      • Brown R.W.
      • Fineman S.M.
      • et al.
      Asthma and the unified airway.
      :
      • 1.
        Patients with upper airway disease, such as rhinitis and rhinosinusitis, should have a higher prevalence of lower respiratory diseases, such as asthma; the corollary, increased prevalence of upper respiratory disease among patients with lower respiratory diseases, also should be present.
      • 2.
        Interrelated pathophysiologic mechanisms between upper and lower airway diseases should exist to explain the interaction of these two disease processes.
      • 3.
        Treatment of one portion of the unified airway should improve symptoms in a separate portion of the respiratory system.
      Drs Devyani Lal, Angela M. Donaldson, and David W. Jang took on the challenge of updating the 2008 issue of Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America on the Unified Airway with aplomb. As the original concept is now well-recognized, these Guest Editors selected topics and authors to highlight the advances in knowledge of inflammation and targeted therapies. This 2023 issue explores topics such as diagnosis, why some get airways disease and others do not, including genetics, epigenetics, environmental factors, and sex differences, and various specific airways diseases, and concludes with medical and surgical treatments. I hope that once you read this issue you will feel inclined to share it with your colleagues in pulmonary medicine and allergy/immunology and continue to promote the concept of the unified airway to enhance patient care.

      References

        • Krouse J.H.
        • Brown R.W.
        • Fineman S.M.
        • et al.
        Asthma and the unified airway.
        Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007; 136: S75-S106