Breathing pattern during and after maximal exercise in patients with chronic obstructive lung disease, interstitial lung disease, and cardiac disease, and in normal subjects

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1986 Apr;133(4):581-6. doi: 10.1164/arrd.1986.133.4.581.


Inspiratory muscle fatigue and pulmonary edema are both known to cause rapid shallow breathing. It has been suggested that exercise tolerance in patients with pulmonary disease and cardiac disease may be limited by the development of inspiratory muscle fatigue and pulmonary edema, respectively, at maximal exercise. If these hypotheses are correct, breathing pattern during recovery from maximal exercise in these patients should be rapid and shallow compared with that during exercise. This study was performed to test these hypotheses. Seven patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), 8 patients with interstitial lung disease (ILD), 7 patients with cardiac disease (CD) (mitral valve disease or left ventricular dysfunction) and 8 normal (NR) subjects each performed maximal incremental exercise on a cycle ergometer. Exercise breathing pattern was compared with that during recovery by calculating the mean difference in tidal volume (at the same levels of minute ventilation) between exercise and recovery for each subject. Recovery breathing pattern was similar to that during exercise for the COPD, ILD, and NR subjects. In contrast, breathing pattern during recovery was rapid and shallow compared with that during exercise for the CD patients; recovery tidal volume was less than that during exercise for the same level of minute ventilation. The fact that rapid shallow breathing does not develop during recovery from maximal exercise in patients with COPD or ILD suggests that inspiratory muscle fatigue does not limit their exercise tolerance. The relative rapid shallow breathing during recovery from maximal exercise in patients with CD is probably due to the development of pulmonary edema at maximal exercise, but further studies are needed to confirm this.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Heart Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / physiopathology*
  • Reference Values
  • Respiration*
  • Respiratory Function Tests