Mechanisms of airway protection during retching, vomiting, and swallowing

American Journal of Physiology. Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
I M LangR Shaker


We investigated the mechanisms of airway protection and bolus transport during retching and vomiting by recording responses of the pharyngeal, laryngeal, and hyoid muscles and comparing them with responses during swallowing and responses of the gastrointestinal tract. Five dogs were chronically instrumented with electrodes on the striated muscles and strain gauges on smooth muscles. Retching and vomiting were stimulated by apomorphine (5-10 ug/kg iv). During retching, the hyoid and thyroid descending and laryngeal abductor muscles were activated; between retches, the hyoid, thyroid, and pharyngeal elevating, and laryngeal adductor muscles were activated. Vomiting always occurred during the ascending phase of retching and consisted of three sequential phases of hyoid and pharyngeal muscle activation culminating in simultaneous activation of all recorded elevating and descending laryngeal, hyoid, and pharyngeal muscles. Retrograde activation of esophagus and pharyngeal muscles occurred during the later phases, and laryngeal adductor was maximally activated in all phases of the vomit. During swallowing, the laryngeal adductor activation was followed immediately by brief activation of the laryngeal abductor. We concluded that retch...Continue Reading


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