Horses and humans are athletes that place demands on their respiratory system far greater than those at lower activity levels. This leaves them susceptible to various types of airway collapse that occur at exercise, with the airway being normal at rest.
Dynamic Upper Airway Collapse in horses has been studied for over a century. In that time and as technology has improved, a greater insight into the specific types of collapse and how they occur has emerged through extensive research. From the rudimentary observations of the first half of the 20th Century, to treadmill videolaryngoscopy that started in the early 1980’s, to pressure measurements that over the last 3 decades have objectively quantified the degree of obstruction caused by different types of collapse.
These pressure measurements allowed the development in 2008 of the first Computational Fluid Dynamics models that allow virtual evaluation of different treatment scenarios. In comparison,
Upper Airway Collapse in humans is in its infancy. A number of types of collapse in humans are visually similar to those in horses, and the basic anatomy of the larynx comparable. It is therefore considered that the lessons learned from research in horses can guide human research to allow a more directed approach, and that by working collaboratively that Upper Airway Collapse can be better understood and treated in both horses and humans.
Consequently, a collaboration between the Veterinary Faculty of The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and West Paed Research EILO group was established. This has resulted in a PhD position and a number of research projects aimed at comparing Dynamic Laryngeal Collapses in horses and humans. This comparative medicine approach is at the forefront of current medical research models.
Phd fellow: Zoe Fretheim-Kelly
NMBU: Prof. Eric Strand
EILO Group: Prof. MD Thomas Halvorsen
Prof. MD John- Helge Heimdal
Prof. Ola Røksund
MD PhD Hege Halvstad Clemm
EILO in Horses and Humans