Rationale: For patients with neuromuscular disorders, lung insufflation with positive pressure is an accepted technique to increase inspiratory volume over VC to improve peak cough flow (PCF).
Objectives: The aim of the study was to determine the pressure or volume required to achieve the highest individual PCF.
Methods: In 40 patients dependent on noninvasive ventilation (VC, 16 ± 11% predicted; age, 20 ± 4 yr) and in 20 healthy control subjects, insufflation capacity (IC) was measured during titration from 10 to maximum 40 mbar using intermittent positive pressure breathing (IPPB) or the lung insufflation assist maneuver (LIAM) of the VENTIlogic LS ventilator.
Measurements and main results: IPPB or LIAM titration resulted in a pressure-volume curve with an estimated total compliance of 0.23 ± 0.11 L/kPa in the patients and 1.0 ± 0.3 L/kPa in the controls and a plateau for IC at pressures between 30 and 40 mbar. IPPB or LIAM improved VC from 451 ± 229 ml to a maximum IC (ICmax) of 1,027 ± 329 ml, and PCF improved from 109 ± 45 to 202 ± 62 L/min (P < 0.01 for all). The highest individual PCF was achieved with 27 ± 6 mbar and an IC of 924 ± 379 ml, which was significantly below ICmax (P < 0.01).
Conclusions: A submaximal insufflation is ideal for generating the best individual PCF even in patients with severely reduced compliance of the respiratory system. Optimum insufflation capacity can be achieved using IPPB or LIAM with moderate pressures. Both techniques are equally effective and considered safe.
Keywords: LIAM; intermittent positive pressure breathing; lung insufflation maneuver; optimum insufflation capacity; peak cough flow.