An evaluation of diaphragmatic movements in hemiplegic patients

Br J Radiol. 2012 Apr;85(1012):411-4. doi: 10.1259/bjr/71968119. Epub 2011 Jun 28.


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of hemiplegia on diaphragmatic movements using motion-mode ultrasonography.

Methods: 23 hemiplegic patients who were diagnosed with a single-hemisphere lesion (mean age 60.5 years; 13 males and 10 females) and a control group of 20 patients (13 males and 7 females) were all evaluated by ultrasonography. Ultrasonography recordings were made of the amplitude of diaphragmatic movement during spontaneous and deep breathing. The patients underwent lung function tests.

Results: When the hemiplegic and control groups were compared, the forced vital capacity, forced expired volume in 1 s, maximum inspiratory pressure and maximum expiratory pressure values were significantly lower in the groups with right and left hemiplegia (p<0.05). When a comparison was made between the right hemiplegic group and the control group and between the left hemiplegic group and the control group in terms of diaphragmatic excursions, for both groups, no significant difference was determined between the movements of the right hemidiaphragm during spontaneous and deep breathing and those of the left hemidiaphragm in spontaneous respiration. In contrast, for both hemiplegic groups, a significant decrease was noted in the movements of the left hemidiaphragm in deep respiration.

Conclusion: The diaphragm is both contralaterally innervated and ipsilaterally innervated, and innervation exhibits marked variations from person to person. This provides an explanation for varying diaphragmatic movements in hemiplegic cases during deep respiration.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diaphragm / diagnostic imaging
  • Diaphragm / innervation
  • Diaphragm / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Functional Laterality
  • Hemiplegia / diagnostic imaging
  • Hemiplegia / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Respiratory Physiological Phenomena
  • Spirometry
  • Ultrasonography
  • Vital Capacity