Inspiratory muscle training in the patient with neuromuscular disease

Phys Ther. 1995 Nov;75(11):1006-14. doi: 10.1093/ptj/75.11.1006.


Pulmonary complications due to respiratory muscle dysfunction are commonly a source of morbidity and mortality in patients with neuromuscular diseases. This review discusses the adverse effects of respiratory muscle weakness on pulmonary mechanics and examines the role that inspiratory muscle training may play in reversing pulmonary dysfunction in these individuals. In asymptomatic persons, it is well established that the inspiratory muscles can be trained to increase both force and endurance. In patients with neuromuscular diseases, the effects of training protocols on force and endurance are more controversial. This article reviews seven studies that have evaluated respiratory muscle training in a total of 75 patients with varied neuromuscular disorders. Training regimens included breathing through inspiratory resistive loads and isocapnic hyperpnea. Despite methodologic differences among studies, investigators have generally shown that the inspiratory muscles are similar to other skeletal muscle groups in that they can be trained for both force and endurance in these patients. The training-related improvements in inspiratory muscle performance are more pronounced in patients who are less severely affected by their disease. In those patients who have disease to the extent that they are already retaining carbon dioxide, there is little change in force or endurance with training. In these individuals, the inspiratory muscles may already be working at a level sufficiently severe to provide a training stimulus with each breath. No adverse effects of inspiratory muscle training were reported. Inspiratory muscle training can improve force and endurance in patients with neuromuscular weakness.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Muscular Dystrophies / physiopathology
  • Muscular Dystrophies / rehabilitation
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Respiratory Mechanics*
  • Vital Capacity