Background: Non-invasive ventilation (NIV) provides ventilatory support for patients with respiratory failure. However, the glottis can act as a closing valve, limiting effectiveness of NIV. This study investigates the patency of the glottis during NIV in patients with acute exacerbation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Methods: Electrical activity of the diaphragm, flow, pressure and videolaryngoscopy were acquired. NIV was randomly applied in pressure support (PSV) and neurally adjusted ventilatory assist (NAVA) mode with two levels of support. The angle formed by the vocal cords represented glottis patency. Results: Eight COPD patients with acute exacerbation requiring NIV were included. No differences were found in median glottis angle during inspiration or peak inspiratory effort between PSV and NAVA at low and high support levels. Conclusions: The present study showed that glottis patency during inspiration in patients with an acute exacerbation of COPD is not affected by mode (PSV or NAVA) or level of assist (5 or 15 cm H2O) during NIV.