Monitoring of the respiratory muscles in the critically ill

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013 Jan 1;187(1):20-7. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201206-1117CP. Epub 2012 Oct 26.


Evidence has accumulated that respiratory muscle dysfunction develops in critically ill patients and contributes to prolonged weaning from mechanical ventilation. Accordingly, it seems highly appropriate to monitor the respiratory muscles in these patients. Today, we are only at the beginning of routinely monitoring respiratory muscle function. Indeed, most clinicians do not evaluate respiratory muscle function in critically ill patients at all. In our opinion, however, practical issues and the absence of sound scientific data for clinical benefit should not discourage clinicians from having a closer look at respiratory muscle function in critically ill patients. This perspective discusses the latest developments in the field of respiratory muscle monitoring and possible implications of monitoring respiratory muscle function in critically ill patients.

MeSH terms

  • Critical Care
  • Critical Illness / therapy*
  • Diaphragm / physiology
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Field Therapy
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods*
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / trends
  • Muscle Weakness / physiopathology
  • Phrenic Nerve / physiopathology
  • Radiography
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology
  • Respiratory Muscles / diagnostic imaging
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiopathology*
  • Ultrasonography
  • Ventilator Weaning