Respiratory muscle function and dyspnea in patients with chronic congestive heart failure.
BACKGROUND Patients with heart failure (HF) frequently experience exertional dyspnea. Using near-infrared spectroscopy, we have previously demonstrated accessory respiratory muscle deoxygenation during exercise in these patients by monitoring changes in light absorption at 760-800 nm.
METHODS AND RESULTS To investigate whether low-frequency respiratory muscle fatigue occurs, we performed supramaximal bilateral transcutaneous phrenic nerve stimulation before and after maximal bicycle exercise in 10 patients with HF (age, 62 +/- 10 years; ejection fraction, 18 +/- 7%) and six normal subjects (age, 50 +/- 8 years). Maximal rates of contraction and relaxation, peak twitch tension, and maximal transdiaphragmatic pressure (Pdi) were derived before and after exercise from analysis of six to 12 twitches obtained at functional residual capacity. Pdi, time in inspiration (Ti), time per breath (TTOT), respiratory gases, ratings of perceived dyspnea and fatigue, and 760-800 nm near-infrared spectroscopy absorbency changes of the serratus anterior muscle were measured throughout exercise. The tension time index (TTdi) of the diaphragm was derived. In both normal and HF subjects, all parameters of diaphragmatic function (i.e., maximal rates of contraction and relaxation, peak twitch tension, and maximal Pdi) were unchanged before and after exercise. Mean Pdi was comparable at rest (normal, 3.7 +/- 1; HF, 5.8 +/- 2.9 cm H2O; p = NS) but significantly greater in patients with HF at peak exercise (normal, 12.1 +/- 3; HF, 18.3 +/- 6.6 cm H2O; p less than 0.05). Ti/TTOT of both groups was similar at rest and throughout exercise. TTdi was significantly greater at rest (normal, 0.01 +/- 0.01; HF, 0.03 +/- 0.02; p less than 0.05) and at peak exercise (normal, 0.03 +/- 0.02; HF, 0.10 +/- 0.03; p less than 0.04) in patients with HF. Significant accessory respiration muscle deoxygenation was noted only in patients with HF (peak exercise; normal, -1 +/- 13; HF, 28 +/- 15 arbitrary units; p less than 0.01). Linear correlation analysis was performed between ratings of perceived dyspnea and parameters of pulmonary and diaphragmatic function. Significant correlations were observed between ratings of perceived dyspnea and maximal inspiratory and expiratory pressure, the TTdi of the diaphragm, near-infrared absorption changes, and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) (all r greater than 0.5; p less than 0.05). Thus, respiratory muscle strength, work, and oxygenation were significantly correlated with the degree of dyspnea.
CONCLUSIONS We conclude that low-frequency diaphragmatic muscle fatigue does not occur despite accessory respiratory muscle deoxygenation during exercise in patients with HF. However, diaphragmatic work as assessed by the TTdi is dramatically increased in patients with HF and approaches levels previously shown to generate fatigue. The sensation of dyspnea appears closely related to respiratory muscle function.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association