Correlations between dyspnea, diaphragm and sternomastoid recruitment during inspiratory resistance breathing in normal subjects

Chest. 1990 Aug;98(2):298-302. doi: 10.1378/chest.98.2.298.


The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between recruitment of the DI and SM muscles measured as EMG signal amplitudes, the pattern of respiratory muscle recruitment measured with inductive plethysmography, and the intensity of the sensation of dyspnea, measured with 100 mm VAS. Eighteen normal subjects between the ages of 33 and 47 breathed under two conditions: normal controlled breathing and breathing against an inspiratory resistance at 60 percent of their maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP). The PM, RR, duty cycle (TI/TTOT, and VT were held constant. During resistance breathing, VAS dyspnea was increased when EMG-DI decreased; EMG-SM increased in association with the sensation of dyspnea. During inspiratory resistance breathing, dyspnea markedly increased and rib cage and accessory muscle recruitment was the predominant pattern of breathing. These data suggest that dyspnea may be associated with the recruitment of the accessory respiratory muscles rather than the recruitment of the diaphragm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diaphragm / physiopathology*
  • Dyspnea / physiopathology*
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Plethysmography
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiopathology*
  • Sensation / physiology
  • Work of Breathing / physiology