Influence of lung volume dependence of upper airway resistance during continuous negative airway pressure

F. Series, I. Marc

Abstract

To quantify the contribution of lung volume dependence of upper airway (UA) on continuous negative airway pressure (CNAP)-induced increase in upper airway resistance, we compared the changes in supralaryngeal resistance during an isolated decrease in lung volume and during CNAP in eight normal awake subjects. Inspiratory supralaryngeal resistance was measured at isoflow during four trials, during two CNAP trials where the pressure in a nasal mask was progressively decreased in 3- to 5-cmH2O steps and during two continuous positive extrathoracic pressure (CPEP) trials where the pressure around the chest (in an iron lung) was increased in similar steps. The CNAP and CPEP trials were done in random order. During the CPEP trial, the neck was covered by a rigid collar to prevent compression by the cervical seal of the iron lung. In each subject, resistance progressively increased during the experiments. The increase was linearily correlated with the pressure increase in the iron lung and with the square of the mask pressure during CNAP. There was a highly significant correlation between the rate of rise in resistance between CNAP and CPEP: the steeper the increase in resistance with decreasing lung volume, the steeper the increase in resistance with decreasing airway pressure. Lung volume dependence in UA resistance can account for 61% of the CNAP-induced increase in resistance. We conclude that in normal awake subjects the changes in supralaryngeal resistance induced by CNAP can partly be explained by the lung volume dependence of this resistance.