Comparison of the upper airway dynamics of oronasal and nasal masks with positive airway pressure treatment using cine magnetic resonance imaging. Academic Article uri icon



  • It is known that oronasal masks are not as effective at opening the upper airway compared to nasal only continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks in patients with sleep-disordered breathing. However, the physiological mechanism for this difference in efficacy is not known; although, it has been hypothesized to involve the retroglossal and/or retropalatal region of the upper airway. The objective of this study was to investigate differences in retroglossal and retropalatal anterior-posterior space with the use of oronasal vs. nasal CPAP masks using real-time cine magnetic resonance imaging (cMRI). Ten subjects (eight men, two women) with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) were given cMRI with both nasal and oronasal CPAP masks. Each subject was imaged with each interface at pressures of 5, 10, and 15 cm of H2O, while in the supine position along the sagittal plane. The oronasal mask produced significantly less airway opening in the retropalatal region of the upper airway compared to the nasal mask interface. During exhalation, mask style had a significant effect on anterior-posterior distance p = 0.016. No differences were found in the retroglossal region between mask styles. Our study confirmed previous findings showing differences in treatment efficacy between oronasal and nasal mask styles. We have shown anatomic evidence that the nasal mask is more effective in opening the upper airway compared to the oronasal mask in the retropalatal region.

publication date

  • March 2016



  • Academic Article



  • eng

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s11325-015-1187-x

PubMed ID

  • 25924934

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 79

end page

  • 85


  • 20


  • 1