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Chest. 2001 Apr;119(4):1108-13.

Assessing inspiratory muscle strength in patients with neurologic and neuromuscular diseases : comparative evaluation of two noninvasive techniques.

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Fondazione Don C. Gnocchi - ONLUS, Section of Respiratory Rehabilitation, Pozzolatico, Firenze, Italy.



Static mouth pressure during maximal inspiratory efforts is commonly used to evaluate inspiratory muscle strength. However, maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP) presents some potential limitations likely to be overcome by the measure of mouth pressure during a maximal sniff maneuver in patients with respiratory muscle weakness. The aim of the present study was to assess whether mouth pressure during sniff maneuver (Pmosn) is a better index of inspiratory muscle strength than MIP in patients with neurologic and neuromuscular diseases (NNMD) with and without inspiratory muscle weakness.


Both MIP and Pmosn were measured in 30 patients affected by various types of NNMD and in 41 control subjects. Pmosn was measured with a 5-cm latex balloon-catheter system, the balloon being held in the oral cavity with the lips closed.


In control subjects, MIP was either similar (in female subjects) or higher (in male subjects) than Pmosn, the variation coefficients for the two tests being similar both in male subjects (19.3% vs 19.1% for MIP and Pmosn, respectively) and in female subjects (27.5% vs 26.2%, respectively). There was no difference in the Pmosn/MIP ratios observed in the different diseases (one-way analysis of variance, F = 0.29, p = 0.91). In control subjects, a significant inverse relationship between Pmosn/MIP ratio and MIP (r = - 0.66, p < 0.00001) was found, ie, the lower the MIP, the higher the Pmosn/MIP ratio, suggesting an increasing difficulty in performing MIP as MIP values decreased. The majority of patients were between the prediction limits of the regression calculated for control subjects. At variance, patients with Duchenne dystrophy and low MIP were under the prediction limits of the regression calculated for control subjects, indicating a lower-than-expected PMOSN.


In patients with NNMD, irrespective of the etiology, we found the following: (1) Pmosn does not overcome the limitations of MIP measurement; (2) the two maneuvers are not interchangeable, but rather complement one another in the assessment of inspiratory muscle strength; (3) Pmosn may underestimate muscle strength as assessed by MIP in patients with NNMD with inspiratory muscle weakness; and (4) in patients with low MIP, the lower-than-expected Pmosn/MIP ratio confirms inspiratory muscle weakness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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