16.06.2021 | Original Article
Using Ultrasound to Document the Effects of Expiratory Muscle Strength Training (EMST) on the Geniohyoid Muscle
Barbara R. Pauloski, Kacey M. Yahnke
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Expiratory muscle strength training (EMST) is an exercise program designed to strengthen the muscles of expiration by increasing expiratory load during breathing exercises using either resistive or pressure threshold devices. Previous research has shown that EMST may increase submental suprahyoid muscle activity as measured with surface electromyography. The impact of EMST on submental muscles is of interest to those who treat dysphagia. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the cross-sectional area of the geniohyoid muscle changes as observed with ultrasound during a 5-week EMST program performed at 75% of maximum expiratory strength using the EMST150 device in healthy adults. Ten healthy adults participated in the 5-week program. Maximum expiratory pressure (MEP) and cross-sectional area of the geniohyoid muscle were measured weekly. Geniohyoid cross-sectional area was measured from ultrasound images recorded in the coronal plane. Repeated Measures ANOVA was used to determine whether there were significant changes among the dependent variables over the study period. Both MEP and geniohyoid area increased significantly in response to a 5-week program of EMST. EMST in healthy adults is effective at strengthening the geniohyoid muscle as reflected by significantly increased cross-sectional area measured with B-mode ultrasound. This is the first study to document weekly change in muscle morphology as a result of EMST. Increasing geniohyoid muscle mass and consequent strength through a program of EMST may be beneficial for persons with pharyngeal stage dysphagia resulting from reduced hyolaryngeal elevation, reduced laryngeal closure, or reduced UES opening.