Chest wall stiffness in patients with chronic respiratory muscle weakness

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1983 Dec;128(6):1002-7. doi: 10.1164/arrd.1983.128.6.1002.


Using the weighted spirometer technique we studied chest wall compliance (Cw) in 16 nonobese patients with chronic weakness of the respiratory muscles and 20 healthy control subjects. In order to evaluate the validity of the technique, while Cw was being measured, we monitored thoracoabdominal configuration with 2 pairs of linearized magnetometers and electrical activity of the external oblique with a concentric needle electrode in 3 healthy subjects and 4 patients; in addition, we recorded in 3 subjects the electrical activity from the intercostal muscles and diaphragm throughout the procedure. The method was reproducible within 5.8% and provided Cw values that compared well with those yielded by the relaxation technique. In each subject, the weight-induced shifts in end-expiratory lung volume showed a very good linear correlation with the changes in transrespiratory pressure at end-expiration (r greater than or equal to 0.91). In addition, in none of the subjects tested did the electromyograms reveal any intercostal, diaphragmatic, or abdominal muscle activity at end-expiration, nor did the end-expiratory level ever show a significant departure from the relaxed thoracoabdominal configuration, thus suggesting adequate respiratory muscle relaxation. The reduction in inspiratory muscle force in the patients ranged from 17 to 94% of predicted (mean +/- SE, 43 +/- 6). The decrease in vital capacity, total lung capacity, and functional residual capacity averaged 59, 34, and 15% of predicted, respectively. Both the patient and the control groups showed a large interindividual variability regarding Cw. It varied from 0.117 to 0.258 L/cm H2O (mean +/- SE, 0.162 +/- 0.012) in the patients and from 0.163 to 0.366 L/cm H2O (mean +/- SE, 0.248 +/- 0.013) in the healthy subjects.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Muscles / physiopathology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Compliance
  • Diaphragm / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Flow Rates
  • Humans
  • Intercostal Muscles / physiopathology
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / physiopathology*
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / complications
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Respiration Disorders / etiology
  • Respiration Disorders / physiopathology
  • Respiration*
  • Thorax / physiopathology*