Inspiratory flow dynamics during phrenic nerve stimulation in awake normals during nasal breathing

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1999 Aug;160(2):614-20. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.160.2.9812036.


The loss of upper airway (UA) dilators preactivation before inspiratory muscle contraction is an important determinant of the pathophysiology of obstructive sleep apnea. We hypothetized that phrenic nerve stimulation could provide a practical way to explore the effects of the dissociation between UA dilators and inspiratory muscles, and possibly to determine UA critical closing pressure during wakefulness. The pattern of inspiratory airflow was therefore studied in normal awake subjects during diaphragm twitches induced by either electrical phrenic stimulation (ES) or cervical magnetic stimulation (CMS) (n = 9) and with and without a nasal stent during ES (n = 7). End-expiratory stimulations applied during exclusive nasal breathing induced 200 to 300 ms twitch inspiratory flow. The average maximal twitch flow of flow-limited twitches was higher during CMS than ES (1.18 +/- 0.29 L.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Airway Resistance / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inspiratory Capacity / physiology*
  • Male
  • Nasal Obstruction / physiopathology
  • Phrenic Nerve / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology*
  • Respiratory Muscles / innervation
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Stents