Whenever students email us with questions, we try to post the answers in the forum. A student asked: " I was having difficulty understanding the difference between tidal volume and dead space. So basically during inspiration the "dead space" is the portion of the "tidal volume" that doesn't reach the alveoli?"
This description is basically correct. The tidal volume refers to the amount of air that is inhaled and exhaled during a normal breath. However, of that inhaled air, not all of it will actually reach the alveoli and participate in gas exchange. The amount of air that is inhaled but does not participate in gas exchange is referred to as dead space.
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