Measurement of mouth pressure (Pm) in response to electrical phrenic nerve stimulation (Es) provides a simple noninvasive means to assess diaphragm function. An even simpler measure would be to use the Pm twitch response (Pm,t) to cervical magnetic stimulation (CMS) rather than to Es. Because CMS coactivates the diaphragm and inspiratory neck muscles (INM), CMS-Pm,t accurately reflects diaphragm function only if the corresponding INM contraction does not produce inspiratory pressures by itself. In patients with recent-onset bilateral diaphragm paralysis, it has been demonstrated that CMS-Pm,t was indeed zero; however, INM hypertrophy could change this situation and lead CMS-Pm,t to overestimate the performance of the diaphragm. To address this issue, we studied nine patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) who had evidence of diaphragmatic paralysis and compensatory hypertrophy and hyperactivity of inspiratory neck muscles. The response to CMS was described in terms of diaphragm electromyogram (EMG), Pm, and abdominal (AB) and rib cage (RC) motion. No EMG response to CMS could be observed in most cases, and CMS was always associated with AB paradox. Nevertheless, a negative Pm,t swing was recorded with an amplitude of -2.6 +/- 1.0 cm H2O (mean +/- SD). We conclude that inspiratory neck muscle hypertrophy can significantly influence the Pm response to CMS. This should be taken into account when using the CMS-Pm combination in patients with possible chronic diaphragm dysfunction.