When it comes to chronic heart failure (CHF), there are a number of factors that can impact patients’ quality of life. Respiratory muscle weakness in patients with CHF, for example, contributes to reduced exercise capacity. This reduced exercise capacity can, in turn, dramatically affect the overall health of the patient in question. CHF patients also experience dyspnea, which can affect their ability to engage in routine activities and have a significant impact on their daily lives.
One of the more recent developments in this area is resistive inspiratory muscle training (IMT), and it shows great promise when it comes to improving the quality of life for patients suffering from CHF. In order to determine whether or not resistive IMT could significantly impact patients with CHF, research was done to test for improvement of exercise capacity in patients with chronic coronary artery disease. Let’s take a closer look at the study below.
- Respiratory muscle weakness contributes to dyspnea and exercise intolerance in people with chronic heart failure (HF) and chronic coronary artery disease.
- 4 weeks of RMT improved dyspnea and exercise capacity in patients with coronary artery disease.
- Ultrasound imaging showed that RMT directly increases the velocity of diaphragm movement during breathing and sniffing.
RMT directly improves diaphragmatic function in people with heart failure.
Nine patients with chronic coronary artery disease were studied. They each performed three exercise tests and underwent assessment of respiratory and diaphragmatic function via ultrasound before and after a non-intensive 4-week resistive IMT program.
Resistive IMT significantly improved dyspnea and exercise capacity. In addition, the velocity of diaphragm movement during quiet breathing and sniffing increased as a result of IMT.
In conclusion, resistive IMT significantly improves exercise capacity, reduces breathlessness and increases diaphragmatic function in patients with chronic coronary artery disease. This is true even with patients with the absence of heart failure. Using ultrasonography, this study is the first to show the direct physiological effect of IMT on diaphragm function. Resistive IMT offers a chance to improve the quality of life of patients suffering from CHF.
Darnley GM, et al. Effects of resistive breathing on exercise capacity and diaphragm function in patients with ischaemic heart disease.Eur J Heart Fail. 1999 Aug;1(3):297-300.