Cystic fibrosis pathology & mechanisms of disease

In cystic fibrosis, mucus contributes to early small airways obstruction


The animations illustrate the airflow in a small airway vessel during inspiration (widening) and expiration (narrowing) under healthy and cystic fibrosis conditions. In a healthy small airway vessel, the laminar airflow passes smoothly alongside the mucosal folds. In cystic fibrosis, however, the thickening of the mucosa and the presence of sputum in the vessel lumen (patches) cause increased resistance and air turbulence. By using a stethoscope, this air turbulence can be heard as a crackling and wheezing sound.

Airflow through a small airway of a healthy person

Airflow through a small airway in a cystic fibrosis patient

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