Occlusion pressure as a measure of respiratory center output in conscious man

Respir Physiol. 1975 Mar;23(2):181-99. doi: 10.1016/0034-5687(75)90059-6.


The output of the "respiratory centers" has been estimated by measuring ventilation, inspiratory muscle power, EMG of the diaphragm, and by various other means, each of which has serious disadvantages. The static pressure generated by the inspiratory muscles at FRC against an obstructed airway is here suggested as a useful alternative. Ten conscious, normal, sitting human subjects were subjected to CO2 rebreathing (Read, 1967) and their airways were occluded at end-expiration at intervals without the subjects being aware in advance. The inspiratory pressure waves so generated were found to be distorted by conscious or unconscious responses to the occlusion which had a minimum latency of 0.15 sec. The pressure generated at 0.1 sec after the onset of inspiration (P0.1) was nevertheless easy to measure and was reproducible in each subject. The CO2 response obtained by plotting P0.1 against PCO2, was curvilinear, the P0.1 increasing more rapidly at high PCO2. The P0.1 is independent of pulmonary mechanics. Since it measures the rate of rise of inspiratory activity and not the peak activity it is also independent of mechanisms that alter the respiratory pattern by affecting inspiratory duration, in particular the vagal volume-related inspiratory-inhibitory reflex. It is concluded that measurements of P0.1 represent a useful index of the output of the respiratory centers.

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Intercostal Muscles / physiology
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Male
  • Pressure
  • Pulmonary Ventilation
  • Respiration*
  • Respiratory Center / physiology*