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      Comparison of Diaphragmatic Stretch Technique and Manual Diaphragm Release Technique on Diaphragmatic Excursion in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Randomized Crossover Trial

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          Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) impairs the function of the diaphragm by placing it at a mechanical disadvantage, shortening its operating length and changing the mechanical linkage between its various parts. This makes the diaphragm's contraction less effective in raising and expanding the lower rib cage, thereby increasing the work of breathing and reducing the functional capacity.

          Aim of the Study

          To compare the effects of diaphragmatic stretch and manual diaphragm release technique on diaphragmatic excursion in patients with COPD.

          Materials and Methods

          This randomised crossover trial included 20 clinically stable patients with mild and moderate COPD classified according to the GOLD criteria. The patients were allocated to group A or group B by block randomization done by primary investigator. The information about the technique was concealed in a sealed opaque envelope and revealed to the patients only after allocation of groups. After taking the demographic data and baseline values of the outcome measures (diaphragm mobility by ultrasonography performed by an experienced radiologist and chest expansion by inch tape performed by the therapist), group A subjects underwent the diaphragmatic stretch technique and the group B subjects underwent the manual diaphragm release technique. Both the interventions were performed in 2 sets of 10 deep breaths with 1-minute interval between the sets. The two outcome variables were recorded immediately after the intervention. A wash-out period of 3 hours was maintained to neutralize the effect of given intervention. Later the patients of group A and group B were crossed over to the other group.


          In the diaphragmatic stretch technique, there was a statistically significant improvement in the diaphragmatic excursion before and after the treatment. On the right side, p=0.00 and p=0.003 in the midclavicular line and midaxillary line. On the left side, p=0.004 and p=0.312 in the midclavicular and midaxillary line. In manual diaphragm release technique, there was a statistically significant improvement before and after the treatment. On the right side, p=0.000 and p=0.000 in the midclavicular line and midaxillary line. On the left side, p=0.002 and p=0.000 in the midclavicular line and midaxillary line. There was no statistically significant difference in diaphragmatic excursion in the comparison of the postintervention values of both techniques.


          The diaphragmatic stretch technique and manual diaphragm release technique can be safely recommended for patients with clinically stable COPD to improve diaphragmatic excursion.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Responding to the threat of chronic diseases in India.

          At the present stage of India's health transition, chronic diseases contribute to an estimated 53% of deaths and 44% of disability-adjusted life-years lost. Cardiovascular diseases and diabetes are highly prevalent in urban areas. Tobacco-related cancers account for a large proportion of all cancers. Tobacco consumption, in diverse smoked and smokeless forms, is common, especially among the poor and rural population segments. Hypertension and dyslipidaemia, although common, are inadequately detected and treated. Demographic and socioeconomic factors are hastening the health transition, with sharp escalation of chronic disease burdens expected over the next 20 years. A national cancer control programme, initiated in 1975, has established 13 registries and increased the capacity for treatment. A comprehensive law for tobacco control was enacted in 2003. An integrated national programme for the prevention and control of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes is under development. There is a need to increase resource allocation, coordinate multisectoral policy interventions, and enhance the engagement of the health system in activities related to chronic disease prevention and control.
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            Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management and Prevention of Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease 2017 Report: GOLD Executive Summary.

            This Executive Summary of the Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management and Prevention of COPD, Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) 2017 Report focuses primarily on the revised and novel parts of the document. The most significant changes include: (i) the assessment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has been refined to separate the spirometric assessment from symptom evaluation. ABCD groups are now proposed to be derived exclusively from patient symptoms and their history of exacerbations; (ii) for each of the groups A to D, escalation strategies for pharmacological treatments are proposed; (iii) the concept of de-escalation of therapy is introduced in the treatment assessment scheme; (iv)non-pharmacological therapies are comprehensively presented and (v) the importance of co-morbid conditions in managing COPD is reviewed.
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              Contractile properties of the human diaphragm during chronic hyperinflation.

              In patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and hyperinflation of the lungs, dysfunction of the diaphragm may contribute to respiratory decompensation. We evaluated the contractile function of the diaphragm in well-nourished patients with stable COPD, using supramaximal, bilateral phrenic-nerve stimulation, which provides information about the strength and inspiratory action of the diaphragm. In eight patients with COPD and five control subjects of similar age, the transdiaphragmatic pressure generated by the twitch response to phrenic-nerve stimulation was recorded at various base-line lung volumes, from functional residual capacity to total lung capacity, and during relaxation and graded voluntary efforts at functional residual capacity (twitch occlusion). At functional residual capacity, the twitch transdiaphragmatic pressure ranged from 10.9 to 26.6 cm of water (1.07 to 2.60 kPa) in the patients and from 19.8 to 37.1 cm of water (1.94 to 3.64 kPa) in the controls, indicating considerable overlap between the two groups. The ratio of esophageal pressure to twitch transdiaphragmatic pressure, an index of the inspiratory action of the diaphragm, was -0.50 +/- 0.05 in the patients, as compared with -0.43 +/- 0.02 in the controls (indicating more efficient inspiratory action in the patients than in the controls). At comparable volumes, the twitch transdiaphragmatic pressure and esophageal-to-transdiaphragmatic pressure ratio were higher in the patients than in normal subjects, indicating that the strength and inspiratory action of the diaphragm in the patients were actually better than in the controls. Twitch occlusion (a measure of the maximal activation of the diaphragm) indicated near-maximal activation in the patients with COPD, and the maximal transdiaphragmatic pressure was 106.9 +/- 13.8 cm of water (10.48 +/- 1.35 kPa). The functioning of the diaphragms of the patients with stable COPD is as good as in normal subjects at the same lung volume. Compensatory phenomena appear to counterbalance the deleterious effects of hyperinflation on the contractility and inspiratory action of the diaphragm in patients with COPD. Our findings cast doubt on the existence of chronic fatigue of the diaphragm in such patients and therefore on the need for therapeutic interventions aimed at improving diaphragm function.

                Author and article information

                Pulm Med
                Pulm Med
                Pulmonary Medicine
                3 January 2019
                : 2019
                1Department of Physiotherapy, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Bejai, Mangalore-575004, India
                2Department of Radiodiagnosis, Kasturba Medical College Mangalore, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Mangalore-575004, India
                3Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Mangalore-575004, India
                Author notes

                Academic Editor: Roberto Walter Dal Negro

                Copyright © 2019 Aishwarya Nair et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Clinical Study

                Respiratory medicine


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