Upper Airway Function during Maximal Exercise in Horses with Obstructive Upper Airway Lesions Effect of Surgical Treatment


Department of Surgery, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.


Upper airway pressure was measured during maximal exercise in 10 Thoroughbred racehorses with naturally occurring upper airway obstruction. Left laryngeal hemiplegia and arytenoid chondropathy resulted in substantial increases (30–40 cm H2O) in inspiratory upper airway pressure (P1), whereas complicated aryepiglottic entrapment and subepiglottic cysts produced only modest increases (15 cm H2O) in P. Uncomplicated aryepiglottic entrapment and grade IV pharyngeal lymphoid hyperplasia produced only slight increases (3–5 cm H2O). In general, surgical procedures restored airway pressures to within normal limits. Subtotal arytenoidectomy improved but did not normalize airway pressures in horses with arytenoid chondropathy. Pharyngeal lymphoid hyperplasia appeared to have little effect on upper airway function.