Glottic dimensions in healthy men and women

Respir Physiol. 1989 Sep;77(3):291-9. doi: 10.1016/0034-5687(89)90117-5.


Glottic aperture is important in modulating respiratory system resistance. Male patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have a smaller glottic cross-sectional area compared to controls. Since OSA has a strong male predominance, we reasoned that glottic dimensions may differ between healthy men and women. Therefore, we utilized the acoustic reflection to measure glottic cross-sectional area in 44 non-smoking, non-obese, healthy subjects, 25 men and 19 women. Glottic area was measured during a continuous slow expiration from total lung capacity (TLC) to residual volume (RV). We compared glottic areas in men and women at three lung volumes: TLC, 50% of vital capacity (VC), and RV. We found that in all but 2 subjects, glottic areas at TLC was greater than at 50% VC or RV. At any given lung volume, there was no significant difference in glottic area between men and women. The reduction in glottic area between TLC and RV was also similar between men and women (36 +/- 24% and 33 +/- 21%, respectively). However, this reduction in glottic area occurred mainly at low lung volumes in women, and more uniformly throughout the vital capacity range in men. We conclude that changes in glottic dimensions are dependent on lung volume, that healthy men and women have similar glottic areas, and that the glottic aperture shows similar variation with lung volume among both sexes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Glottis / anatomy & histology*
  • Glottis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Male