Aims to identify some of the causes of sleep apnoea by investigating the upper airway anatomy.
The causes of the extremely high prevalence of sleep apnoea in people with quadriplegia are unknown. It is critical to determine the precise mechanisms of sleep apnoea in this population so as to guide the development of novel, effective therapeutic approaches.
The overall aim of this research stream is to the development of quadriplegia-specific sleep apnoea treatment strategies, based on an exploration of the underlying upper airways structure.
Immediately after acute quadriplegia, traumatic tissue swelling and surgical fixation are likely to reduce the size of the upper airways. Later, increases in body fat and neck size contribute to reduced lung volume, increased blood flow, decreased airflow and increased airflow resistance in the nose and the pharynx. It has been demonstrated that there is a positive correlation between neck size and sleep apnoea severity in people with chronic quadriplegia.
The SHiQ Imaging project will investigate upper airway anatomy in people with quadriplegia using MR imaging. The upper airway will be imaged, along with the size of components of the surrounding tissue, including upper airways fat and muscle mass.
Outcomes from this project may have the potential to be further developed as clinical treatments in quadriplegia.