Inspiratory muscle training improves respiratory muscle function and may improve weaning outcomes in patients with weaning difficulties. Compared to the commonly used pressure threshold loading, tapered flow resistive loading better accommodates pressure–volume relationships of the respiratory muscles, which might help to facilitate application of external loads and optimise training responses.
The objective of this study was to compare acute breathing pattern responses and perceived symptoms during an inspiratory muscle training session performed against identical external loading provided as pressure threshold loading or as tapered flow resistive loading. We hypothesised that for a given loading, tapered flow resistive loading would allow larger volume expansion and higher inspiratory flow responses and consequently higher external work of breathing and power than pressure threshold loading and that subsequently patients perceived fewer symptoms during tapered flow resistive loading than during pressure threshold loading.
In this exploratory study, 21 patients (maximal inspiratory pressure: 35 ± 14 cmH2O and vital capacity:0.85 L±0.37 L) performed two training sessions against external loads equalling 42 ± 15% of maximal inspiratory pressure provided either as pressure threshold loading or as tapered flow resistive loading. During these training sessions, breath-by-breath data of breathing parameters were collected, and patients rated their perceived breathing effort, dyspnoea, and unpleasantness.
Compared to pressure threshold loading, tapered flow resistive loading allowed significantly larger volume expansion (0.53 ± 0.28 L versus 0.41 ± 0.20 L, p < 0.01) and inspiratory flow responses (0.43 ± 0.20 L/s versus 0.33 ± 0.16 L/s, p = 0.01). Tapered flow resistive loading was perceived as less unpleasant (3.1 ± 1.9 versus 3.8 ± 2.4, p = 0.048). No significant differences in breathing effort, dyspnoea, work of breathing, and power were observed.
For a given loading, inspiratory muscle training with tapered flow resistive loading allowed larger volume expansion and higher inspiratory flow responses than pressure threshold loading, which led patients to perceive tapered flow resistive loading as less unpleasant. This might help us to facilitate early implementation of inspiratory muscle training in patients with weaning difficulties.
Clinical trial registration number
Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT03240263
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Published online: August 27, 2022
Accepted: July 17, 2022
Received in revised form: June 22, 2022
Received: April 15, 2022
Publication stageIn Press Corrected Proof
☆This research project was supported by Research Foundation Flanders, Belgium (FWO, https://www.fwo.be/en/): grant number G053721N.
© 2022 Australian College of Critical Care Nurses Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.