Assessment of Diaphragmatic Function

  • M. Aubier
Part of the Update in Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine book series (UICM, volume 13)


The respiratory system may be schematically divided into two parts: a gas exchanging organ — the lungs — and a pump that ventilates the lungs. The pump consists of the respiratory centers that control the pump, the nerves connecting the centers to the chest wall and the respiratory muscles that displace it. The diaphragm is the most important respiratory muscle, accounting for about 60% of tidal volume in the supine subject. It is thus possible that decreased diaphragmatic force represents a final common pathway in the development of hypercapnic respiratory failure from a variety of conditions. Thus, assessment of diaphragmatic function may be useful to confirm the diagnosis of diaphragmatic impairment and also to guide therapeutic intervention. In connection with this, it is necessary to have suitable techniques for testing diaphragmatic muscle to quantitate muscle force and contractility.


Phrenic Nerve Phrenic Nerve Stimulation Respiratory Inductive Plethysmograph Hypercapnic Respiratory Failure Diaphragmatic Muscle 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

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  • M. Aubier

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