Efficacy of inspiratory muscle training in chronic heart failure patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Int J Cardiol. 2013 Aug 20;167(4):1502-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2012.04.029. Epub 2012 May 3.


Introduction: Inspiratory muscle training (IMT) offers an alternative to exercise training (ExT) in the most severely deconditioned heart failure patients who are unable to exercise. We conducted a meta-analysis to determine magnitude of change in peak VO2, six minute walk distance (6MWD), Quality of Life measured by the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire (MLWHFQ), maximal inspiratory pressure (PI max) and ventilatory equivalent for carbon dioxide (VE/VCO2 slope) with IMT.

Methods: A systematic search was conducted of randomized, controlled trials of IMT therapy in CHF patients using Medline (Ovid) (1950-February 2012), Embase.com (1974-February 2012), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and CINAHL (1981-February 2012). The search strategy included a mix of MeSH and free text terms for the key concepts heart failure, inspiratory or respiratory muscle training, exercise training

Results: The eleven included studies contained data on 287 participants: 148 IMT participants and 139 sham or sedentary control. Compared to control groups, CHF patients undergoing IMT showed a significant improvement in peak VO2 (+1.83 ml kg(-1) min(-1), 95% C.I. 1.33 to 2.32 ml kg(-1) min(-1), p<0.00001); 6 MWD (+34.35 m, 95% C.I. 22.45 to 46.24 m, p<0.00001); MLWHFQ (-12.25, 95% C.I. -17.08 to -7.43, p<0.00001); PImax (+20.01, 95% C.I. 13.96 to 26.06, p<0.00001); and VE/VCO2 slope (-2.28, 95% C.I. -3.25 to -1.30, p<0.00001).

Conclusions: IMT improves cardio-respiratory fitness and quality of life to a similar magnitude to conventional exercise training and may provide an initial alternative to the more severely de-conditioned CHF patients who may then transition to conventional ExT.

Keywords: Cardiorespiratory fitness; Exercise training; Inspiratory muscle training; Left ventricular dysfunction; Quality of life.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Breathing Exercises / methods*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Inhalation / physiology*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiology*
  • Treatment Outcome