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Benefits of short inspiratory muscle training on exercise capacity, dyspnea, and inspiratory fraction in COPD patients.

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Department of Physiology, University of Claude Bernard Lyon I, Lyon, France.


Static lung hyperinflation has important clinical consequences in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Given that most of these patients have respiratory and peripheral muscle weakness, dyspnea and functional exercise capacity may improve as a result of inspiratory muscle training (IMT). The present study is designed to investigate the benefits of a short outpatient program of IMT on inspiratory muscle performance, exercise capacity, perception of dyspnea, and the inspiratory fraction (IF). Thirty patients (24 males, 6 females) with significant COPD (forced expiratory volume in one second [FEV1] = 46.21% +/- 6.7% predicted, FEV1 = 33.6% +/- 8.04% predicted) were recruited for this study and had 3 months of IMT (30 minutes/day for 6 days/week) in an outpatient clinic. Following IMT, there was a statistically significant increase in inspiratory muscle performance (an increase of the maximal inspiratory pressure from 59% +/- 19.1% to 79% +/- 21.85% predicted; p = 0.0342), a decrease in dyspnea (from 5.8 +/- 0.78 to 1.9 +/- 0.57; p = 0.0001), an increase in the distance walked during the 6 minute walk test, from 245 +/- 52.37 m to 302 +/- 41.30 m, and finally an increase in the IF (the new prognostic factor in COPD) from 27.6 +/- 9.7% to 31.4% +/- 9.8%. The present study concludes that in patients with significant COPD, IMT results in improvement in performance, exercise capacity, sensation of dyspnea, and moreover an improvement in the IF prognostic factor.

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