Effect of Trendelenburg position and lower-body positive pressure on neck fluid distribution

Azadeh Yadollahi, Bhajan Singh, Philip J. Millar, Daniel Vena, John S. Floras, T. Douglas Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fluid that shifts out of the legs and into the neck when supine can contribute to upper-airway narrowing. The present study investigates the relative contributions of vascular and extravascular fluid to the total accumulation of neck fluid volume (NFV). In 22 healthy awake participants (8 women), aged 42 9 yr, we measured NFV with bioelectrical impedance, internal jugular vein volume (IJVV) with ultrasound, and extravascular NFV (NFVEV) as the difference between NFV and IJVV. Participants were randomly allocated to control and intervention, both of which were conducted on the same day. Measurements were made at baseline and every 5 min thereafter during control and intervention. During intervention, participants received 40 mmHg lower-body positive pressure (LBPP) when supine, followed by LBPP plus 10° Trendelenburg position, then LBPP when supine again, followed by recovery. During control, participants lay supine for equal time. LBPP and LBPP plus Trendelenburg position both increased NFV from baseline compared with control (P 0.001), with significant contributions from IJVV (P 0.001). Returning to supine with LBPP, IJVV returned to baseline, but NFV remained elevated because of accumulation of NFVEV. These findings suggest that contributions of IJVV to NFV are immediate but transient, whereas sustained elevation in NFV when supine is likely a result of NFVEV. These findings add new insights into the mechanism by which fluid accumulates in the neck by rostral fluid shift. NEW & NOTEWORTHY This study demonstrates that lying supine for 30 min as well as increased fluid shift out of the legs to simulate nocturnal rostral fluid shift causes fluid to accumulate mainly in the extravascular space of the neck rather than in the internal jugular veins. Therefore, in subjects without fluid-retaining states, extravascular neck fluid accumulation overnight might play a more significant role in the pathophysiology of upper-airway narrowing than intravascular fluid accumulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1259-1264
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


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