A novel ultrasound technique to measure genioglossus movement in vivo

Benjamin C.H. Kwan, Jane E. Butler, Anna L. Hudson, David K. McKenzie, Lynne E. Bilston, Simon C. Gandevia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Upper: airway muscles are important in maintaining airway patency. Visualization of their dynamic motion should allow measurement, comparison, and further understanding of their roles in healthy subjects and those with upper airway disorders. Currently, there are few clinically feasible real-time imaging methods. Methods such as tagged magnetic resonance imaging have documented movement of genioglossus (GG), the largest upper airway dilator. Inspiratory movement was largest in the posterior region of GG. This study aimed to develop a novel ultrasound (US) method to measure GG movement in real time. We tested 20 healthy, awake subjects (21-38 yr) breathing quietly in the supine posture with the head in a neutral position. US images were collected using a transducer positioned submentally. Image correlation analysis measured regional displacement of GG within a grid of points in the midsagittal plane throughout the respiratory cycle. Typically, motion began before inspiratory flow in an anteroinferior direction and peaked in midinspiration. Average peak displacements of the anterior, posterior, superior, and inferior grid points were 0.44 ± 0.23 (mean ± SD), 0.57 ± 0.35, 0.38 ± 0.20, and 0.62 ± 0.41 mm, respectively. Largest displacements occurred in the most inferoposterior part (0.70 ± 0.48 mm). This method had good intrarater repeatability within the same testing session, as well as across sessions. We have devised a simple noninvasive US method, which should be a useful tool to assess GG movement in normal subjects and those with sleep-disordered breathing. Copyright

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-562
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Genioglossus
  • Imaging
  • Ultrasound
  • Upper airway muscles


Dive into the research topics of 'A novel ultrasound technique to measure genioglossus movement in vivo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this