New physiological insights into exercise-induced diaphragmatic fatigue

Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2007 Aug 15;158(1):88-96. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2007.04.011. Epub 2007 May 7.


Data on the dynamic process and time-point of manifestation of exercise-induced diaphragmatic fatigue (DF) are lacking. Therefore, this study was aimed assessing dynamic changes of diaphragmatic strength during exercise and determining the time-point of DF manifestation. Fourteen trained subjects (maximal oxygen uptake (VO2(max)) 59.3+/-5.5 ml/min/kg) performed standardized exercise protocols (maximal workload: 85% VO2(max)) followed by recovery (6 min). Ergospirometric data and twitch transdiaphragmatic pressure (TwPdi) were consecutively assessed. DF was induced (TwPdi-rest: 2.34+/-0.26 versus TwPdi-end-recovery 2.01+/-0.21 kPa, p<0.01). TwPdi progressively increased during exercise (TwPdi-rest: 2.34+/-0.26 versus TwPdi-maximal-workload: 3.28+/-0.38 kPa, p<0.001). DF was detectable immediately after exercise-termination (TwPdi-maximal-workload: 3.28+/-0.38 versus TwPdi-early-recovery 2.55+/-0.34 kPa, p<0.001). TwPdi during exercise was highly correlated to workload, VO2(max) and dyspnea (r=0.96/r=0.92/r=0.97; all p<0.0001). In conclusion, diaphragmatic strength progressively increases with increasing workload, and DF manifests after - rather than during - exercise. In addition, TwPdi is highly correlated to key-measures of ergospirometry, approving the physiological thesis that muscle strength is progressively enhanced and escapes fatiguing failure during high-intensity exercise performance.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diaphragm / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiology
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Pressure
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiology*
  • Vital Capacity