Breath-holding in healthy and pulmonary-compromised populations: effects of hyperventilation and oxygen inspiration

J Magn Reson Imaging. May-Jun 1997;7(3):595-7. doi: 10.1002/jmri.1880070323.


Suspension of respiration during end-expiration often is recommended to minimize body organ displacement between sequential image acquisitions. The purpose of this report is to evaluate techniques for end-expiratory breath-holding applicable to a pulmonary-compromised population. Eighty-seven consecutive outpatients with chronic pulmonary diseases and 31 healthy nonsmoking volunteers were recruited for the study. All subjects were asked to hold their breath in end-expiration while in the supine position (29 after breathing room air, 29 after hyperventilating room air for six breaths, and 29 after breathing O2 from a portable oxygen tank via nasal cannula until pulse-oximeter readings stabilized or reached 100%). Each volunteer was tested with all three methods. The mean length of time for a breath-hole on room air without hyperventilation was 9.2 seconds for the patients and 31.7 seconds for the volunteers. A breath-hold after hyperventilation of room air was timed at 12.3 seconds for the patients and 41.2 seconds for the volunteers, and after O2 administration, the breath-hold was 22.4 seconds for the patients and 60.9 seconds for the volunteers. No adverse effects occurred. The pulmonary-compromised patient can suspend respiration most successfully after O2 administration (P < .0001), whereas hyperventilation seems to be less beneficial. Nonpulmonary-compromised volunteers can hold their breath for longer periods of time.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Apnea
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperventilation / physiopathology*
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Oxygen / administration & dosage*
  • Reference Values
  • Respiration / physiology*
  • Spirometry*
  • Time Factors


  • Oxygen