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A neuromuscular mechanism maintaining extrathoracic airway patency.

Abstract

The ability of the extrathoracic airway (ETA) to remain open when exposed to negative pressure was investigated in rabbits. Postmortem, the ETA collapsed at -6.3 +/- 0.6 cmH2O whereas, during airway occlusion maneuvers in lightly anesthetized animals, it remained patent at pressures as low as -80 cmH2O. This discrepancy suggested that a neuromuscular mechanism maintains ETA patency. Four findings indicated that the genioglossus and geniohyoid muscles, which pull the tongue and hyoid bone anteriorly, help maintain ETA patency: 1) anterior movement of the hyoid bone increased the negative pressure at which the ETA collapsed postmortem, 2) ETA closure during occluded inspirations occurred after 12th nerve section abolished electromyographic activity in these muscles and 3) after deep anesthesia depressed such activity, and 4) closing pressure was linearly related to peak integrated electromyograms of the two muscles. After 12th nerve section, ETA closing pressure became more negative with progressive asphyxia greatly exceeding postmortem closing pressure, which suggests that other muscles also help maintain ETA patency. Blood gas tensions, respiratory system mechanoreceptors, and depth of anesthesia appear to influence genioglossus and geniohyoid activity.

PMID:
457556
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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