Upper Airway During Respiration

Although static and state-dependent upper airway imaging modalities have provided valuable information regarding the mechanisms that affect the airway morphology, examination of the airway during respiration provides data to understand the dynamic behavior of the upper airway. Dynamic upper airway imaging modalities including CT, MRI, and nasopharyngoscopy have been employed to study the upper airway during inspiration, expiration, and simulated apneas via a Müller maneuver (14,35,43,45,72,84,139-141).

Geometrical changes in the airway during respiration have been well-characterized (7,84) (Fig. 8). In inspiration the upper airway area is relatively constant inferring a balance between muscle dilator activity and negative airway lumen pressure. Early expiration exhibits airway maximal enlargement, which is likely linked to positive intraluminal pressure. At end-expiration there is significant decline in airway caliber. The finding that the upper airway is at its minimal caliber

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