We evaluated application of a Pth device for testing inspiratory muscle endurance among patients with severe but stable COPD. Endurance time in five patients was reproducible. Magnitude of variability was +/- 1.26 minutes with a range of +/- 0.19 to +/- 2.28 minutes. Eleven inpatients completed inspiratory muscle training twice daily for four weeks in addition to their usual program of respiratory rehabilitation. The mean age of our experimental cohort was 65 years; FEV1, 33 +/- 12 percent predicted; and Dsb, 42 +/- 7 percent predicted. Baseline measurements showed no significant differences in pulmonary function, exercise tolerance, inspiratory muscle strength or inspiratory muscle endurance between control and study groups. Following training, the study group significantly improved inspiratory muscle endurance as evidenced by an increase in endurance time while breathing against the same absolute external Pth load used during baseline assessments. There were no associated changes in lung mechanics, muscle strength or exercise tolerance.