Objective: To investigate and characterize the muscular strength and components of breathing patterns in chronic stroke survivors compared with age-matched subjects.
Design: Descriptive case-control study.
Setting: Research laboratory.
Participants: Sixteen community-dwelling stroke survivors and 19 age-matched healthy subjects.
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main outcome measures: Maximal inspiratory (MIP) and expiratory pressure (MEP), tidal volume, respiratory rate, percentage of inspiratory time related to total respiratory cycle, mean inspiratory flow, and rib cage and abdominal contributions to tidal volume.
Results: Stroke subjects presented significantly lower MIP (P<.01) and MEP (P=.01) and a tendency for predominance of rib cage contributions (P=.05) during tidal breathing. There were no significant differences between the other respiratory variables.
Conclusions: Decreases in strength of respiratory muscles and lower abdomen contributions were shown during the respiratory cycle in community-dwelling stroke subjects. Based on these findings, it can be hypothesized that the association of specific respiratory training could optimize the gains associated with cardiovascular training in stroke survivors.