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  • Author or Editor: Norm Ducharme x
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Objective—To determine the phase and quantitate the electromyographic (EMG) activity of the genioglossus, geniohyoideus, hyoepiglotticus, omohyoideus, sternohyoideus, sternothyroideus, and thyrohyoideus muscles of clinically normal horses during strenuous exercise.

Animals—7 clinically normal adult horses (2 Thoroughbreds and 5 Standardbreds).

Procedures—Bipolar electrodes were surgically implanted in the aforementioned muscles, and horses were subjected to an incremental exercise test on a high-speed treadmill. The EMG, heart rate, respiratory rate, and static pharyngeal airway pressures were measured during exercise. The EMG was measured as mean electrical activity (MEA). The MEA values for maximal exercise intensity (13 or 14 m/s) were expressed as a percentage of the MEA measured at an exercise intensity of 6 m/s.

Results—MEA was detected during expiration in the genioglossus, geniohyoideus, sternohyoideus, and thyrohyoideus muscles and during inspiration in the hyoepiglotticus and sternothyroideus muscles. Intensity of the MEA increased significantly with exercise intensity in the genioglossus, geniohyoideus, and hyoepiglotticus muscles. Intensity of the MEA increased significantly in relation to expiratory pharyngeal pressure in the geniohyoideus and hyoepiglotticus muscles.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Once exercise intensity reached 6 m/s, no quantifiable additional increase in muscular activity was detected in the omohyoideus, sternohyoideus, sternothyroideus, and thyrohyoideus muscles. However, muscles that may affect the diameter of the oropharynx (genioglossus and geniohyoideus muscles) or rima glottis (hyoepiglotticus muscle) had activity correlated with the intensity of exercise or expiratory pharyngeal pressures. Activity of the muscles affecting the geometry of the oropharynx may be important in the pathophysiologic processes associated with nasopharyngeal patency.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Repeatability of measurements of peak and mean tracheal and pharyngeal pressures in exercising horses was determined. Five athletically fit horses were subjected to repeated (n = 5) standardized exercise trials. Static pressures in the trachea, nasopharynx, and mask were determined. At least 96% of all mean pressure measurements were within 5 cm of H2O of the mean value for any horse. Peak pressure measurements were less repeatable, but at least 96% of all measurements were within 10 cm of H2O of the mean peak measurements for any horse. In 10 horses galloping at 14 m/s, the 95% confidence interval for peak treacheal and pharyngeal inspiratory pressures ranged from —40 to —50 cm of H2O and —20 to — 26 cm of H2O, respectively. During expiration, the 95% confidence interval for peak tracheal and pharyngeal pressure at the same speed ranged from 15 to 28 cm of H2O and 10 to 24 cm of H2O respectively. During inspiration, horses with induced laryngeal hemiplegia had static pressure measurements generally outside that range. We conclude that determination of tracheal and pharyngeal pressures is a potentially useful adjunct for assessment of the proximal portion of the respiratory tract.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To determine whether laryngeal hemiplegia would increase transmural pulmonary artery pressure (TPAP).


6 horses.


Horses were studied under 5 conditions: control conditions, after induction of left laryngeal hemiplegia, during obstruction of the left nostril, after placement of an instrumented tracheostomy, and after placement of an open tracheostomy. Horses were evaluated after being given saline solution and after being given furosemide.


Horses were exercised on a high speed treadmill, using a maximum speed of 13 m/s. During each exercise, airway pressures, airflow, esophageal and pulmonary artery pressures, and blood gas partial pressures were measured.


When adjusted for horse, speed, and obstruction condition, mean TPAP (pulmonary artery pressure – esophageal pressure) and minimum TPAP were significantly lower after administration of furosemide than after administration of saline solution. In horses given saline solution, respiratory obstruction that increased intrapleural pressure significantly increased mean TPAP, and respiratory obstruction that decreased intrapleural pressure significantly decreased minimum TPAP.


Changes in intrapleural pressure appear to play an important role in pulmonary artery pressure and TPAP.

Clinical Relevance

Because induction of laryngeal hemiplegia did not increase TPAP, laryngeal hemiplegia is unlikely to contribute to development of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:897–903)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research