The effects of breathing pattern training on ventilatory function in patients with COPD

Biofeedback Self Regul. 1996 Dec;21(4):311-21. doi: 10.1007/BF02214431.


The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of a particular breathing pattern training (BPT) on forced expiratory volume during the first second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The subjects adjusted each breath to a target breath displayed on a video screen, by using visual feedback. This target was chosen in an individual sample recorded at rest. We used a randomized, controlled group design. Twenty patients with stable COPD, FEV1 less than 1.5 liters, undergoing a traditional rehabilitation program were randomly assigned to the BPT group or to the control group. Each BPT subject underwent 30-35 training sessions spread out over four weeks, in addition to the traditional program. FEV1 and FVC were performed before and after this program. ANOVAs showed that FEV1 and FVC significantly improved in BPT subjects, with a mean percent increase of 22% and 19%, respectively. Corresponding changes in controls were not significant. This study showed short-term increases in FEV1 and FVC in COPD patients practicing BPT in addition to respiratory rehabilitation, in comparison with controls. Further studies should incorporate outcome data to clarify the mechanisms and the duration of this effect.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biofeedback, Psychology / physiology*
  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Plethysmography
  • Respiration / physiology
  • Vital Capacity / physiology*