Chest wall kinematics and respiratory muscle action in ankylosing spondylitis patients

I. Romagnoli, F. Gigliotti, A. Galarducci, B. Lanini, R. Bianchi, D. Cammelli, G. Scano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


No direct measurements of the pressures produced by the ribcage muscles, the diaphragm and the abdominal muscles during hyperventilation have been reported in patients with ankylosing spondylitis. Based on recent evidence indicating that abdominal muscles are important contributors to stimulation of ventilation, it was hypothesised that, in ankylosing spondylitis patients with limited ribcage expansion, a respiratory centre strategy to help the diaphragm function may involve coordinated action of this muscle with abdominal muscles. In order to validate this hypothesis, the chest wall response to a hypercapnic/hyperoxic rebreathing test was assessed in six ankylosing spondylitis patients and seven controls by combined analysis of: 1) chest wall kinematics, using optoelectronic plethysmography, this system is accurate in partitioning chest wall expansion into the contributions of the ribcage and the abdomen; and 2) respiratory muscle pressures, oesophageal, gastric and transdiaphragmatic (Pdi); the pressure/volume relaxation characteristics of both the ribcage and the abdomen allowed assessment of the peak pressure of both inspiratory and expiratory ribcage muscles, and of the abdominal muscles. During rebreathing, chest wall expansion increased to a similar extent in patients to that in controls; however, the abdominal component increased more and the ribcage component less in patients. Peak inspiratory ribcage, but not abdominal, muscle pressure was significantly lower in patients than in controls. End-inspiratory Pdi increased similarly in both groups, whereas inspiratory swings in Pdi increased significantly only in patients. No pressure or volume signals correlated with disease severity. The diaphragm and abdominal muscles help to expand the chest wall in ankylosing spondylitis patients, regardless of the severity of their disease. This finding supports the starting hypothesis that a coordinated response of respiratory muscle activity optimises the efficient of the thoracoabdominal compartment in conditions of limited ribcage expansion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-460
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2004


  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Chest wall kinematics
  • Respiratory muscles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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