Breathing efficiency during inspiratory threshold loading in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

E.M. Baarends*, A.M.W.J. Schols, C.M. Nusmeier, C.P.M. van der Grinten, E.F.M. Wouters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Department of Pulmonology, Maastricht University, The Netherlands.

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) demonstrate an increased oxygen cost of breathing. It is as yet unclear whether this is related to a decreased breathing efficiency. The aim of the present study was to compare breathing efficiency in 16 patients with COPD (11 men, five women) and 16 healthy elderly subjects (seven men, nine women), and to investigate a possible relationship between breathing efficiency and resting energy expenditure (REE). REE was measured using a ventilated hood system. Breathing efficiency was assessed by measuring oxygen consumption (V'O2), mean inspiratory mouth pressure (MIP) and flow during breathing at rest and subsequently during breathing against an inspiratory threshold (40% of maximal inspiratory pressure). During loaded breathing there was a significant increase in V'O2, MIP, and external work of breathing compared with unloaded breathing in both groups. As intended, ventilation did not increase significantly during the breathing efficiency test in the patients with COPD. The breathing efficiency (median, range) of the patients with COPD was similar (3.7%, 1.4-8.7%) to that of the healthy elderly subjects (3.2%, 1.7-8.3%). Breathing efficiency was not correlated with REE in either group. In the present study, in which dynamic hyperinflation was probably prevented, no difference in breathing efficiency was found between healthy elderly subjects and COPD patients when breathing against an external inspiratory threshold. Furthermore, breathing efficiency was not related to REE in both groups.

Publication Types:
Clinical Trial
Controlled Clinical Trial
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-244
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998


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