Hypnosis effect on carbon dioxide chemosensitivity

Chest. 1986 Jun;89(6):828-31. doi: 10.1378/chest.89.6.828.


Hypnosis is an induced state of heightened suggestibility during which certain physiologic variables can be altered. To investigate if carbon dioxide (CO2) chemosensitivity could be blunted during this suggestible state, we measured hypercapnic ventilatory response (HCVR, delta VE/delta PaCO2), oxygen consumption (VO2), breathing pattern (VT and f), inspiratory flow rate (VT/Ti), and inspiratory timing (Ti/Ttot) in 20 healthy subjects. Mouth occlusion pressures (P0.1) were measured in the last nine subjects. Resting oxygen consumption and minute ventilation were measured during awake and hypnotic control states. The HCVR was measured spontaneously and with the suggestion to maintain normal ventilation during both awake and hypnotic conditions. It was found that without a change in metabolism, ventilatory responses to CO2 could be blunted both voluntarily, and to a greater degree, with hypnotic suggestion. These findings may have important implications in clinical settings in which patients suffer from marked dyspnea secondary to increased ventilatory chemosensitivity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carbon Dioxide / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hypercapnia / physiopathology
  • Hypnosis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / drug effects
  • Respiration / drug effects*
  • Rest
  • Tidal Volume


  • Carbon Dioxide