The Effect of Diaphragm Contraction on Upper Airway Collapsibility

This study was performed to determine the mechanisms by which lung volume and upper airway collapsibility are related and whether phrenic nerve stimulation has therapeutic potential in preventing or treating upper airway obstruction.

The authors found that tonic phrenic nerve stimulation decreases upper airway collapsibility. These findings suggest that the decrease in collapsibility is primarily mediated through lung volume increase related changes in airway wall compliance and/or airway transmural pressure gradients rather than through mediastinal traction secondary to diaphragm descent. Phrenic nerve stimulation deserves further exploration as a therapy for OSA.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23640590