Effects of chest wall vibration on breathlessness during hypercapnic ventilatory response

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1998 May;84(5):1487-91. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1998.84.5.1487.


Vibratory stimulation applied to the chest wall during inspiration reduces the intensity of breathlessness, whereas the same stimulation during expiration has no effect or may increase breathlessness. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether vibration reduced the intensity of breathlessness during progressive hypercapnia with and without the addition of an external resistive load. A second objective was to see whether the mouth occlusion pressure at 0.2 s (P0.2) was reduced by the vibratory stimulation. Hypercapnic ventilatory response was conducted in 10 healthy male volunteers with simultaneous measurement of visual analog scale, P0.2, and minute ventilation. Hypercapnic ventilatory response was performed and randomly combined with or without vibratory stimulation (100 Hz) as well as with or without inspiratory load. With inspiratory load, in-phase vibration did not cause any significant changes in the slopes of P0.2 and minute ventilation to CO2, whereas the slope of visual analog scale to CO2 significantly decreased from 0.47 +/- 0.15 to 0.34 +/- 0.11 (SE) cm/Torr (P < 0.05). We conclude that in-phase vibration could decrease the slope of breathlessness elicited by inspiratory load combined with hypercapnia without changing motor output.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carbon Dioxide / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypercapnia / physiopathology*
  • Intercostal Muscles / physiology*
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Muscle Spindles / physiology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Respiration / physiology*
  • Thorax / physiology*
  • Vibration*


  • Carbon Dioxide