We assessed the effect of inspiratory loaded breathing (ILB) on respiratory muscle strength and investigated the extent to which respiratory muscle fatigue is associated with chest wall volume changes during ILB. Twelve healthy subjects performed ILB at 76 ± 11% of maximal inspiratory mouth pressure (MIP) for 1h. MIP and breathing pattern during 3 min of normocapnic hyperpnea (NH) were measured before and after ILB. Breathing pattern and chest wall volume changes were assessed by optoelectronic plethysmography. After ILB, six subjects decreased MIP significantly (-16 ± 10%; p < 0.05), while the other six subjects did not (0 ± 7%, p = 0.916). Only subjects with decreased MIP after ILB lowered end-expiratory rib cage volume (volume at which inspiration is initiated) below resting values during ILB. During NH after ILB, tidal volume was smaller in subjects with decreased MIP (-19 ± 16%, p < 0.05), while it remained unchanged in the other group (-3 ± 11%, p = 0.463). These results suggest that respiratory muscle fatigue depends on the lung volume from which inspiratory efforts are made during ILB.
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