Comparison of upper airway respiratory resistance measurements with the esophageal pressure/airflow relationship during sleep

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2011;2011:3205-8. doi: 10.1109/IEMBS.2011.6090872.


Measurement of upper airway resistance is of interest in sleep disordered breathing to estimate upper airway patency. Resistance is calculated with the airflow and respiratory effort signals. However, there is no consensus on a standard for upper airway resistance measurement. This study proposes a new benchmarking method to objectively compare different upper airway resistance measurement methods by objectively differentiating between breaths with inspiratory flow limitation (high resistance) and non-limited breaths (low resistance). Resistance was measured at peak-Pes, at peak-flow, at the linear portion of a polynomial equation, as an area comparative and as average resistance for an inspiration. A total of 20 patients with systematic, gold-standard esophageal pressure and nasal airflow acquisition were analyzed and 109,955 breaths were automatically extracted and evaluated. Relative resistance values in relationship to a reference resistance value obtained during wakefulness were also analyzed. The peak-Pes measurement method obtained the highest separation index with significant (p < 0.001) differences to the other methods, followed by the area comparative and the peak-flow methods. As expected, average resistances were significantly (p < 0.001) lower for the non-IFL than for the IFL group. Hence, we recommend employing the peak-Pes for accurate upper airway resistance estimation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Airway Resistance*
  • Esophagus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep*