Swallow-breathing coordination during incremental ascent to altitude

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Huff, Alyssa
Day, Trevor A.
English, Mason
Reed, Mitchell D.
Zouboules, Shaelynn
Saran, Gurkarn
Leacy, Jack K.
Mann, Carli
Peltonen, Joel D. B.
O'Halloran, Ken D.
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Elsevier B.V.
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Swallow and breathing are highly coordinated behaviors reliant on shared anatomical space and neural pathways. Incremental ascent to high altitudes results in hypoxia/hypocapnic conditions altering respiratory drive, however it is not known whether these changes also alter swallow. We examined the effect of incremental ascent (1045 m, 3440 m and 4371 m) on swallow motor pattern and swallow-breathing coordination in seven healthy adults. Submental surface electromyograms (sEMG) and spirometry were used to evaluate swallow triggered by saliva and water infusion. Swallow-breathing phase preference was different between swallows initiated by saliva versus water. With ascent, saliva swallows changed to a dominate pattern of occurrence during the transition from inspiration to expiration. Additionally, water swallows demonstrated a significant decrease in submental sEMG duration and a shift in submental activity to earlier in the apnea period, especially at 4371 m. Our results suggest that there are changes in swallow-breathing coordination and swallow production that likely increase airway protection with incremental ascent to high altitude. The adaptive changes in swallow were likely due to the exposure to hypoxia and hypocapnia, along with airway irritation. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.
Airflow , Airway protection , Apnea duration , Electromyograms , High altitude ascent , Swallow coordination
Huff, A., Day, T. A., English, M., Reed, M. D., Zouboules, S., Saran, G., Leacy, J. K., Mann, C., Peltonen, J. D., O’Halloran, K. D. and Sherpa, M. T. (2019) 'Swallow-breathing coordination during incremental ascent to altitude', Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology, 265, pp.121-126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resp.2018.06.005
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