Resistive inspiratory muscle training in sleep-disordered breathing of traumatic tetraplegia

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2002 Apr;83(4):491-6. doi: 10.1053/apmr.2002.30937.


Objective: To assess the effect of resistive inspiratory muscle training (RIMT) on the static pulmonary function and sleep-induced breathing disorder of individuals with chronic cervical cord injury.

Design: Before-after training.

Setting: Home-setting training program.

Patients: Fourteen complete traumatic tetraplegic patients (12 men, 2 women; mean age, 41.1 +/- 14y; range, 19-56y) injured for more than 6 months.

Intervention: Subjects participated in a 6-week RIMT program for 15 minutes twice daily at a training intensity of 60% of maximum inspiratory pressure (MIP). The participants were reevaluated at the end of 6-week training.

Main outcome measures: Lung volume, peak expiratory flow (PEF), MIP, and maximum expiratory pressure (MEP) were measured by using a spirometry and inspiratory force meter, respectively. Capnography was used to monitor nocturnal pulse oxyhemoglobin saturation (SpO(2)) and end-tidal carbon dioxide tension level (ETCO(2)) of the patients.

Results: The maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV) and MIP of individuals with chronic cervical cord injury substantially improved after RIMT. MIP increased from -68.7 +/- 27.4cmH(2)O to -77.3 +/- 24.0cmH(2)O and MVV rose from 62.7 +/- 33.2L to 73.4 +/- 31.3L (P <.05). Despite increasing from 3.5 +/- 1.8L/s to 4.0 +/- 1.7L/s, PEF was statistically insignificant. For the individuals with improved MIP, the duration of ETCO(2) greater than 48mmHg reduced from 2.2% +/- 3.3% to 1.0% +/- 2.0% of total sleep time (P =.05) and that of SpO(2) less than 90% significantly declined from 1.8% +/- 2.8% to 1.3% +/- 2.4% of total sleep time (P <.05).

Conclusion: These findings suggest that RIMT can enhance the respiratory muscle strength and endurance of chronic tetraplegia and further ameliorate the sleep-induced breathing disorder. Therefore, RIMT is suggested as a home program for patients with sleep-disordered breathing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Quadriplegia / physiopathology
  • Quadriplegia / rehabilitation*
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiopathology
  • Respiratory Paralysis / physiopathology
  • Respiratory Paralysis / rehabilitation*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / rehabilitation*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Work of Breathing / physiology


  • Oxygen