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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1998 Apr;84(4):1144-50.

Functional magnetic stimulation of expiratory muscles: a noninvasive and new method for restoring cough.

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Spinal Cord Injury Service, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California 94304, USA.


The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of functional magnetic stimulation (FMS) for producing expiratory function in normal human subjects. Twelve able-bodied normal subjects were recruited for this study. FMS of the expiratory muscles was performed by using a magnetic stimulator and placing the magnetic coil along the lower thoracic spine. Results showed that peak expired pressure, volume, and flow rate generated by FMS at the end of normal inspiration (102.5 +/- 13.62 cmH2O, 1.6 +/- 0.16 liters, and 4.8 +/- 0.35 l/s, respectively) were comparable to their voluntary maximal levels (P > 0.1). The optimal coil placement was between T7 and T11, and the optimal stimulation parameters were a frequency of 25 Hz and 70-80% of maximal intensity. We conclude that 1) FMS of the lower thoracic nerves in normal subjects resulted in a significant expiratory function comparable to their voluntary maximum; 2) FMS was noninvasive and was well tolerated by all subjects; and 3) FMS may be useful to produce cough in patients in critical care or perioperative settings, or in patients with neurological disorders.

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