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Physiother Theory Pract. 2010 Aug;26(6):385-92. doi: 10.3109/09593980903423210.

Inspiratory flow rate, not type of incentive spirometry device, influences chest wall motion in healthy individuals.

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Division of Physiotherapy, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


This study investigated the effect of flow rates and spirometer type on chest wall motion in healthy individuals. Twenty-one healthy volunteers completed breathing trials to either two times tidal volume (2xV(T)) or inspiratory capacity (IC) at high, low, or natural flow rates, using a volume- or flow-oriented spirometer. The proportions of rib cage movement to tidal volume (%RC/V(T)), chest wall diameters, and perceived level of exertion (RPE) were compared. Low and natural flow rates resulted in significantly lower %RC/V(T) compared to high flow rate trials (p=0.001) at 2xV(T). Low flow trials also resulted in significantly less chest wall motion in the upper anteroposterior direction than high and natural flow rates (p<0.001). At IC, significantly greater movement occurred in the abdominal lateral direction during low flow compared to high and natural flow trials (both p<0.003). RPE was lower for the low flow trials compared to high flow trials at IC and 2xV(T) (p<0.01). In healthy individuals, inspiratory flow (not device type) during incentive spirometry determines the resultant breathing pattern. High flow rates result in greater chest wall motion than low flow rates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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