Chih-Wei Sung

and 6 more

Objective: This prospective observational study aims to measure the epiglottic thickness by ultrasonography (US) in healthy volunteers. Methods: Healthy adult volunteers were recruited from the National Taiwan University Hospital between October and November 2019. Exclusion criteria included preexisting airway diseases, neck tumors, and a history of neck operation. Epiglottic thickness was measured at the midpoint, right and left edges of the epiglottis. Age, sex, height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) were collected. The linear regression model was employed to identify parameters to be associated with the epiglottic thickness. Coefficients and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were computed. The literature was also reviewed. Results: There were 124 Chinese adults and 63 were men. The average age was 32.5±10.4 years. The midpoint, right edge and left edge of the epiglottic thickness was 2.03±0.42 mm, 2.14±0.42 mm and 2.21±0.42 mm, respectively. Male gender (midpoint, coefficient, 0.38, 95% CI, 0.35-0.43; right edge, coefficient, 0.33, 95% CI, 0.31-0.35; left edge, coefficient, 0.31, 95% CI, 0.29-0.35) and BMI (midpoint, coefficient, 0.02, 95% CI, 0.019-0.021; right edge, coefficient, 0.02, 95% CI, 0.019-0.022; left edge, coefficient, 0.02, 95% CI, 0.018-0.022) were associated with the epiglottic thickness. The epiglottis was thinner in normal Chinese adults, compared with that in Americans in the literature. Conclusions: US allows the depiction and assessment of the epiglottis in healthy volunteers. Male gender and higher BMI are associated with a thicker epiglottis. Future studies are warranted to evaluate race differences in the dimension of the epiglottic thickness.