Upper airway measurements in nine infants considered to be at risk of upper airway insufficiency, six of whom presented after an apnoeic episode, were compared with measurements taken in two age groups of healthy infants. Paired, inspiratory and expiratory, lateral upper airway radiographs were obtained while the infants were awake and breathing quietly. The radiographs of all nine infants demonstrated narrowing in the oropharyngeal portion of the airway during inspiration and in six infants there was ballooning of the upper airway during expiration. Seven of the nine infants subsequently experienced recurrent apnoeic episodes which required vigorous stimulation to restore breathing. Experience suggests that respiratory phase timed radiographs are a useful adjunct to the evaluation of infants who are suspected of having upper airway dysfunction. They provide information regarding both the dimensions and compliance of the upper airway as well as the site of any restriction.
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