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      Respiratory muscle training in athletes with cervical spinal cord injury: effects on cardiopulmonary function and exercise capacity

      1 , 2 , 3 , 1 , 4 , 1 , 2 , 5 , 1 , 3 , 4

      The Journal of Physiology

      Wiley

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          Abstract

          To investigate the pulmonary, cardiovascular and exercise responses to combined inspiratory and expiratory respiratory muscle training (RMT) in athletes with tetraplegia, six wheelchair rugby athletes (five males and one female, aged 33 ± 5 years) completed 6 weeks of pressure threshold RMT, 2 sessions day–1 on 5 days week–1. Resting pulmonary and cardiac function, exercise capacity, exercising lung volumes and field-based exercise performance were assessed at pre-RMT, post-RMT and after a 6-week no RMT period. RMT enhanced maximal inspiratory (pre- vs. post-RMT: −76 ± 15 to −106 ± 23 cmH2O, P = 0.002) and expiratory (59 ± 26 to 73 ± 32 cmH2O, P = 0.007) mouth pressures, as well as peak expiratory flow (6.74 ± 1.51 vs. 7.32 ± 1.60 L/s, P < 0.04). Compared to pre-RMT, peak work rate was higher at post-RMT (60 ± 23 to 68 ± 22 W, P = 0.003), whereas exercising end-expiratory lung volumes were reduced (P < 0.017). Peak oxygen uptake increased in all athletes at post-RMT (1.24 ± 0.40 vs. 1.40 ± 0.50 l min−1, P = 0.12). After 6 weeks of no RMT all indices returned towards baseline, with peak work rate (P = 0.037), peak oxygen uptake (P = 0.041) and end-expiratory lung volume (P < 0.034) being significantly lower at follow-up than at post-RMT. There was a significant decrease in left-ventricular end-diastolic volume and stroke volume in response to 45° head-up tilt (P = 0.030 and 0.021, respectively); however, all cardiac indices in both supine and tilted positions were unchanged by RMT. Our findings demonstrate the efficacy of RMT with respect to enhancing respiratory muscle strength, lowering exercising lung volumes and increasing exercise capacity. Although the precise mechanisms by which RMT may enhance exercise capacity remain unclear, our data suggest that it is probably not the result of a direct cardiac adaptation associated with RMT.

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          Most cited references 29

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          Distinguishable types of dyspnea in patients with shortness of breath.

          Dyspnea frequently accompanies a variety of cardiopulmonary abnormalities. Although dyspnea is often considered a single sensation, alternatively it may encompass multiple sensations that are not well explained by a single physiologic mechanism. To investigate whether breathlessness experienced by patients represents more than one sensation, we studied 53 patients with one of the following seven conditions: pulmonary vascular disease, neuromuscular and chest wall disease, congestive heart failure, pregnancy, interstitial lung disease, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Patients were asked to choose descriptions of their sensation(s) of breathlessness from a dyspnea questionnaire listing 19 descriptors. Cluster analysis was used to identify natural groupings among the chosen descriptors. We found that patients could distinguish different sensations of breathlessness. In addition, we found an association between certain groups of descriptors and specific conditions producing dyspnea. These findings concur with those in an earlier study in normal volunteers in whom dyspnea was induced by various stimuli. We conclude that different types of dyspnea exist in patients with a variety of cardiopulmonary abnormalities. Furthermore, different mechanisms may mediate these various sensations.
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            Respiratory muscle training in healthy humans: resolving the controversy.

            Specific respiratory muscle training offers the promise of improved exercise tolerance and athletic performance for a wide range of users. However, the literature addressing respiratory muscle training in healthy people remains controversial. Studies into the effect of respiratory muscle training upon whole body exercise performance have used at least one of the following modes of training: voluntary isocapnic hyperpnea, flow resistive loading, and pressure threshold loading. Each of these training modes has the potential to improve specific aspects of respiratory muscle function. Some studies have demonstrated significant improvements in either time to exhaustion or time trial performance, whilst others have demonstrated no effect. We present an overview of the literature that rationalizes its contradictory findings. Retrospective analysis of the literature suggests that methodological factors have played a crucial role in the outcome of respiratory muscle training studies. We conclude that in most well controlled and rigorously designed studies, utilizing appropriate outcome measures, respiratory muscle training has a positive influence upon exercise performance. The mechanisms by which respiratory muscle training improves exercise performance are unclear. Putative mechanisms include a delay of respiratory muscle fatigue, a redistribution of blood flow from respiratory to locomotor muscles, and a decrease in the perceptions of respiratory and limb discomfort.
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              Pulmonary function and spinal cord injury.

              Injury to the cervical and upper thoracic spinal cord disrupts function of inspiratory and expiratory muscles, as reflected by reduction in spirometric and lung volume parameters and static mouth pressures. In association, subjects with tetraplegia have decreased chest wall and lung compliance, increased abdominal wall compliance, and rib cage stiffness with paradoxical chest wall movements, all of which contribute to an increase in the work of breathing. Expiratory muscle function is more compromised than inspiratory muscle function among subjects with tetraplegia and high paraplegia, which can result in ineffective cough and propensity to mucus retention and atelectasis. Subjects with tetraplegia also demonstrate heightened vagal activity with reduction in baseline airway caliber, findings attributed to loss of sympathetic innervation to the lungs. Significant increase in airway caliber following inhalation of ipratropium bromide, an anticholinergic agent, suggests that reduction in airway caliber is not due to acquired airway fibrosis stemming from repeated infections or to abnormal hysteresis secondary to chronic inability of subjects to inhale to predicted total lung capacity. Reduced baseline airway caliber possibly explains why subjects with tetraplegia exhibit airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine and ultrasonically nebulized distilled water. While it has been well demonstrated that bilateral phrenic nerve pacing or stimulation through intramuscular diaphragmatic electrodes improves inspiratory muscle function, it remains unclear if inspiratory muscle training improves pulmonary function. Recent findings suggest that expiratory muscle training, electrical stimulation of expiratory muscles and administration of a long-acting beta(2)-agonist (salmeterol) improve physiological parameters and cough. It is unknown if baseline bronchoconstriction in tetraplegia contributes to respiratory symptoms, of if the chronic administration of a bronchodilator reduces the work of breathing and/or improves respiratory symptoms. Less is known regarding the benefits of treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, despite evidence indicating that the prevalence of this condition in persons with tetraplegia is far greater than that encountered in able-bodied individuals.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                The Journal of Physiology
                J Physiol
                Wiley
                0022-3751
                1469-7793
                June 18 2019
                July 2019
                June 11 2019
                July 2019
                : 597
                : 14
                : 3673-3685
                Affiliations
                [1 ]International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries Vancouver BC Canada
                [2 ]School of KinesiologyUniversity of British Columbia Vancouver BC Canada
                [3 ]Canadian Sport Institute – Pacific Victoria BC Canada
                [4 ]Faculty of MedicineUniversity of British Columbia Kelowna BC Canada
                [5 ]Centre for Heart Lung &amp; Vascular HealthSchool of Health &amp; Exercise SciencesUniversity of British Columbia Kelowna BC Canada
                Article
                10.1113/JP277943
                © 2019

                http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/termsAndConditions#vor

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1

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