Background and purpose: Inspiratory muscle weakness and fatigue has been documented following prolonged mechanical ventilation despite successful weaning from mechanical ventilation. This report describes the application of inspiratory muscle training in two patients following successful discharge from an intensive care unit (ICU) after prolonged mechanical ventilation.
Methods: Both patients undertook inspiratory muscle training in conjunction with standard physiotherapy rehabilitation.
Results: Improvements in inspiratory muscle strength and endurance, exercise tolerance and functional performance following twice-daily inspiratory muscle training were recorded. In both cases, an improvement in maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP) and maximal tolerated inspiratory load (MIP(load)) was found following training.
Conclusion: These positive results indicate further research is needed to investigate the effect of inspiratory muscle training on respiratory function, exercise tolerance and functional performance, for the possible inclusion of inspiratory muscle training into the physiotherapy management of patients following prolonged mechanical ventilation.