Effect of hypercapnia and PEEP on expiratory muscle EMG and shortening

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1989 Mar;66(3):1408-13. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1989.66.3.1408.


The present study examined the effects of hypercapnia and positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) on the electromyographic (EMG) activity and tidal length changes of the expiratory muscles in 12 anesthetized, spontaneously breathing dogs. The integrated EMG activity of both abdominal (external oblique, internal oblique, rectus abdominis, and transverse abdominis) and thoracic (triangularis sterni, internal intercostal) expiratory muscles increased linearly with increasing PCO2 and PEEP. However, with both hypercapnia and PEEP, the percent increase in abdominal muscle electrical activity exceeded that of thoracic expiratory muscle activity. Both hypercapnia and PEEP increased the tidal shortening of the external oblique and rectus abdominis muscles. Changes in tidal length correlated closely with simultaneous increases in muscle electrical activity. However, during both hypercapnia and PEEP, length changes of the external oblique were significantly greater than those of the rectus abdominis. We conclude that both progressive hypercapnia and PEEP increase the electrical activity of all expiratory muscles and augment their tidal shortening but produce quantitatively different responses in the several expiratory muscles.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbon Dioxide / pharmacology*
  • Dogs
  • Electromyography
  • Muscle Contraction* / drug effects
  • Pressure
  • Reference Values
  • Respiratory Muscles / drug effects
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiology*


  • Carbon Dioxide