Electromagnetic ventilation: first evaluation of a new method for artificial ventilation in humans

Muscle Nerve. 2010 Sep;42(3):305-10. doi: 10.1002/mus.21698.


Current methods of artificial ventilation cannot prevent diverse problems associated with mechanical ventilation. In contrast to all current forms of mechanical ventilation, electromagnetic stimulation can activate respiratory muscles directly. However, it is not known if and to what extent electromagnetic stimulation can ventilate humans. In 10 volunteers we stimulated the lateral neck using magnetic stimulators. Over 63 s we stimulated nine times with a frequency of 25 HZ for 1.1 s using 600 V, 900 V, and 1,200 V. The minimum stimulation time for each volunteer was 9 min. A Capnomac monitor measured minute ventilation. Electromagnetic stimulation was well tolerated and safe. Bilateral stimulation with 600 V achieved considerable minute ventilation (median +/- SD, 7.2 +/- 3.4 L/min) that increased at higher voltage levels (P < 0.0001). 900 V achieved sufficient minute ventilation in all volunteers (11.5 +/- 5.0 L/min; 1200 V, 14.0 +/- 4.9 L/min). This first evaluation of electromagnetic ventilation demonstrates that it can be used to ventilate humans sufficiently. This method may be developed to a new mode of ventilation.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electromagnetic Fields
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intercostal Muscles
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Neck / anatomy & histology
  • Phrenic Nerve / physiology
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods*
  • Respiratory Muscles
  • Ventilators, Mechanical*
  • Young Adult