Effects of Abdominal Strapping on Forced Expiration in Tetraplegic Patients

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1998 Jan;157(1):95-8. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.157.1.9701010.


Patients with traumatic transection of the lower segments of the cervical cord contract the clavicular portion of the pectoralis major during forced expiration and cough, and the rise in intrathoracic pressure resulting from this contraction produces dynamic airway compression in many patients. Because the abdominal muscles are paralyzed, however, there is paradoxical expansion of the abdomen, which may reduce the rise in intrathoracic pressure and the degree of airway collapse. To evaluate the magnitude of this effect, we measured expiratory flow rate (Vexp) and esophageal pressure (Pes) during a series of forced expiratory vital capacity maneuvers and constructed isovolume-pressure flow (IVPF) curves before and after abdominal strapping in eight C5-8 tetraplegic subjects. Strapping produced small and inconsistent changes in maximal Vexp and Pes and resulted in the development of small flow plateaus in only four patients. In tetraplegic subjects, abdominal strapping thus has small effects on forced expiration and is unlikely, therefore, to improve the efficiency of cough.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Muscles / physiopathology*
  • Adult
  • Braces / standards*
  • Cough / physiopathology
  • Esophagus / physiopathology*
  • Forced Expiratory Flow Rates*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pressure
  • Quadriplegia / etiology
  • Quadriplegia / physiopathology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications
  • Thorax / physiopathology