The aims of this study were to assess spontaneous breathing patterns in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) recovering from acute exacerbation and to assess the relationship between different breathing patterns and clinical and functional parameters of respiratory impairment. Thirty-four COPD patients underwent assessment of lung function tests, arterial blood gases, haemodynamics, breathing pattern (respiratory frequency (f(R)), tidal volume (V(T)), inspiratory and expiratory time (t(I) and t(E)), duty cycle (t(I)/t(tot)), V(T)/t(I)) and mechanics (oesophageal pressure (P(oes)), work of breathing (WOB), pressure-time product and index, and dynamic intrinsic positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP(i,dyn))). According to the presence (group 1) or absence (group 2) of P(oes) swings during the expiratory phase (premature inspiration), 20 (59%) patients were included in group 1 and 14 (41%) in group 2. Premature inspirations were observed 4.5±6.4 times·min-1 (range 1-31), i.e. 20±21% (3.7-100%) of total f(R) calculated from V(T) tracings. In group I the coefficient of variation in V(T), t(E), t(I)/t(tot), PEEP(i,dyn), P(oes) and WOB of the eight consecutive breaths immediately preceding the premature inspiration was greater than that of eight consecutive breaths in group 2. There were no significant differences in the assessed parameters between the two groups in the overall population, whereas patients with chronic hypoxaemia in group 1 showed a more severe impairment in clinical conditions, mechanics and lung function than hypoxaemic patients in group 2. In spontaneously breathing patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease recovering from an acute exacerbation, detectable activity of inspiratory muscles during expiration was found in more than half of the cases. This phenomenon was not associated with any significant differences in anthropometric, demographic, physiological or clinical characteristics.
- Acute respiratory failure
- Chronic respiratory insufficiency
- Ineffective efforts
- Mechanical ventilation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine