The effects of respiratory training with inspiratory flow resistive loads in premature infants

Pediatr Res. 1992 Jun;31(6):613-8. doi: 10.1203/00006450-199206000-00015.


Respiratory training of premature infants was performed to determine whether improved respiratory muscle strength and/or endurance would result. Twenty-two premature infants were randomized into control and training groups for 2 wk, using inspiratory flow-resistive loads for training (75 cm H2O.L-1.s in wk 1 and 90 cm H2O.L-1.s in wk 2). Respiratory endurance was assessed by the time interval required for the development of a 5-torr rise in transcutaneous CO2 tension during the hypoventilation induced by loaded breathing, using a moderately severe resistive load (250 cm H2O.L-1.s at 1 L.min-1). Respiratory strength was assessed by the maximum negative airway pressure generated during occluded breaths, a pressure-time integral, and an effort index. Results revealed that respiratory muscle endurance, which was not initially different between control and trained groups, increased significantly after 2 wk in the trained group by 137% (median value, p less than 0.05), whereas it remained unchanged in the control group (-24%). The trained group of infants also showed a significant decrease in baseline breathing frequency between the initial and final measurements taken 2 wk apart when compared with controls (p less than 0.05) and a lesser increase in inspiratory time with loading in the final measurement as compared with the initial value (p less than 0.05). There was no significant difference between the control and trained groups in initial or subsequent measures of respiratory muscle strength. Inspiratory flow-resistive load training appears to improve the respiratory endurance of premature infants in whom respiratory muscle fatigue has been described to play a role in the development of respiratory failure.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Apnea / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Male
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiology
  • Respiratory Therapy / methods*