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Respiratory mechanics is a difficult topic for instructors and students alike. Existing respiratory mechanics models are limited in their abilities to demonstrate any effects of rib cage movement on alveolar and intrapleural pressures. We developed a model that can be used in both large and small classroom settings. This model contains digital pressure displays and computer integration for real-time demonstration of pressure changes that correspond to the different phases of breathing. Moving the simulated diaphragm and rib cage causes a volume change that results in pressure changes visible on the digital sensors and computer display. Device testing confirmed the model's ability to accurately demonstrate pressure changes in proportion to physiological values. Classroom testing in 427 surveyed students showed improved understanding of respiratory concepts (P < 0.05). We conclude that our respiratory mechanics model is a valuable instructional tool and provide detailed instructions for those who would like to create their own.
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