High-intensity inspiratory muscle training in COPD

Eur Respir J. 2006 Jun;27(6):1119-28. doi: 10.1183/09031936.06.00105205.


The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of an interval-based high-intensity inspiratory muscle training (H-IMT) programme on inspiratory muscle function, exercise capacity, dyspnoea and health-related quality of life (QoL) in subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A double-blind randomised controlled trial was performed. Sixteen subjects (11 males, mean forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV(1)) 37.4+/-12.5%) underwent H-IMT performed at the highest tolerable inspiratory threshold load (increasing to 101% of baseline maximum inspiratory pressure). Seventeen subjects (11 males, mean FEV(1 )36.5+/-11.5%) underwent sham inspiratory muscle training (S-IMT) at 10% of maximum inspiratory pressure. Training took place three times a week for 8 weeks and was fully supervised. Pre- and post-training measurements of lung function, maximum inspiratory pressure, maximum threshold pressure, exercise capacity, dyspnoea and QoL (Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire; CRDQ) were obtained. H-IMT increased maximum inspiratory pressure by 29%, maximum threshold pressure by 56%, 6-min walk distance by 27 m, and improved dyspnoea and fatigue (CRDQ) by 1.4 and 0.9 points per item, respectively. These changes were significantly greater than any seen following S-IMT. In conclusion, high-intensity inspiratory muscle training improves inspiratory muscle function in subjects with moderate-to-severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, yielding meaningful reductions in dyspnoea and fatigue.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Dyspnea / physiopathology
  • Dyspnea / rehabilitation
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Fatigue / physiopathology
  • Fatigue / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhalation / physiology
  • Inspiratory Capacity / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Quality of Life
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiopathology*