Tracheal area at different lung volumes was measured using acoustic reflection technique, flow-volume curves, and lung volumes by body plethysmography in 24 healthy adults (14 men, 10 women) in order to study the relationship between tracheal area and lung volume, and between tracheal area and maximal expiratory flow rates. Each individual tracheal area was greatest at TLC and lowest at RV; this lung volume dependence was significantly greater in men than in women. When tracheal areas versus absolute lung volumes were plotted for the entire group and the linear regression analysis on the data was performed, no significant correlation between lung volume and tracheal area in men was found, but a highly significant correlation was found in women. Using the analysis proposed by Mead (Am Rev Respir Dis 1980; 121:339-42) in his assessment of dysanapsis, the ratio of tracheal area/lung volume versus lung volume was plotted and the slope was found to be negative (and close to -1) in men and positive in women. Therefore it was concluded that the relationship between tracheal area and lung volume is consistent with the hypothesis that in men and women lung parenchyma grows independently of the airways; furthermore, in women the airways grow faster than the lung parenchyma. In addition, in women there was good correlation between tracheal area and FEV1, as well as maximal expiratory flow rates at 50 and 25% of VC. For men, these correlations were less consistent and depended on the lung volume at which tracheal area was measured.