Inspiratory muscle training compared with other rehabilitation interventions in adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis

COPD. 2005 Sep;2(3):319-29. doi: 10.1080/15412550500218072.


The purpose of this systematic review was to determine the effect of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) (alone or combined with exercise and/or pulmonary rehabilitation) compared to other rehabilitation interventions such as: exercise, education, other breathing techniques or exercise and/or pulmonary rehabilitation among adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A systematic review of the literature on IMT and COPD was conducted according to the Cochrane Collaboration protocol. Inclusion criteria for the review included randomized controlled trials, published in English, comparing IMT or combined IMT and exercise/pulmonary rehabilitation with other rehabilitation interventions such as general exercise, education, other breathing techniques or exercise/pulmonary rehabilitation among adults with COPD. 274 articles were retrieved, and 16 met the inclusion criteria. Seven meta-analyses were performed that compared targeted or threshold IMT to exercise (n = 3) or to education (n = 4). Results showed significant improvements in inspiratory muscle strength and endurance, and in the dyspnea scale on a quality of life measure, for participants in the IMT versus education group. In other instances where meta-analyses could not be performed, a qualitative review was performed. IMT results in improved inspiratory muscle strength and endurance compared to education. Further trials are required to investigate the effect of IMT (or combined IMT) compared to other rehabilitation inventions for outcomes such as dyspnea, exercise tolerance, and quality of life.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Dyspnea / rehabilitation
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Humans
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Quality of Life
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiopathology