Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

We hypothesised that the airway resistance during tidal breathing would correlate with a particular pattern of increasing obesity, particularly when supine, and would differ between participants with and without ventilatory failure.In our cross-sectional cohort study, 72 morbidly obese patients (40 males, 32 females, mean body mass index (BMI) 47.2) had measurements of both airways resistance (by impulse oscillometry (IOS)) and adiposity (by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA)).All measures of airways resistance increased in the supine position: total airways resistance (R5) +37% (p<0.0005); large airways resistance (R20) +29% (p<0.0005); and small airways resistance (R5-R20) +52% (p<0.0005). BMI was correlated with seated R5, seated R5-R20, supine R5 and supine R5-R20 (r=0.33 p<0.006, r=0.32 p<0.004, r=0.30 p<0.02 and r=0.36 p<0.04, respectively). Visceral adipose tissue mass was correlated with supine R5-20 (r=0.46 p<0.05). Supine measures of total airways resistance (R5) and large airways resistance (R20) differed between those with and without ventilatory failure, as did mean weight and BMI.Our study identifies a potentially detrimental effect of the supine posture on tidal breathing airways resistance in obese patients. This change is correlated most with visceral adipose tissue mass and the small airways. We were able to demonstrate that supine increases in airways resistance during tidal breathing, within obese patients, are different between those with and without ventilatory failure.NCT01380418; pre-results.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ open respiratory research

Publication Date





e000138 - e000138


Oxford Respiratory Trials Unit, Experimental Medicine Division, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; St Peter's College, New Inn Hall Street, Oxford, UK; Centre for Altitude, Space and Extreme Environment Medicine (CASE Medicine), Institute of Sport Exercise and Health, University College London, London, UK.