Evaluation of human diaphragm fatigue

J Appl Physiol Respir Environ Exerc Physiol. 1982 Nov;53(5):1196-206. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1982.53.5.1196.


The time course of the frequency content of the electromyogram (EMG) was studied in the diaphragm of five normal subjects breathing through high inspiratory resistance. The ratio between the power content of a high-frequency band (150-350 Hz) (H) and a low-frequency band (20-40 Hz) (L) was calculated for each breath and expressed as a fraction of the initial breath. The rate of decay (when existent) was exponential and was quantified by measuring the time constant of decay of H/L (TF). Runs were held sustaining the ratio of inspiratory time to total breath cycle duration (TI/Ttot) from 0.2 to 1 and transdiaphragmatic pressure (Pdi) of 0.1-0.8 of Pdimax. It was found that TF was monotonically related to Pdi X TI/Ttot, following a hyperbolic relationship. TF was compared with velocity of conduction of the myopotentials and with center frequency of the EMG power spectrum and found to follow similar trends showing, however, different absolute rate of change. The values of TF were found to be directly related to the time a given pattern could be sustained (Tlim). It is concluded that EMG changes and Tlim are related and are expressions of the metabolic changes induced by the contraction pattern.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diaphragm / physiology*
  • Electrodes
  • Electromyography
  • Esophagus / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena
  • Spectrum Analysis