Comparison between the phase angle and phase shift parameters to assess thoracoabdominal asynchrony in COPD patients

Desiderio Cano Porras, Adriana C. Lunardi, Cibele C.B. Marques Da Silva, Denise M. Paisani, Rafael Stelmach, Henrique T. Moriya, Celso R.F. Carvalho*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Determining the presence of thoracoabdominal asynchrony in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients is clinically relevant, but there is no consensus on the optimal parameters for performing this analysis. We assessed 22 COPD patients (FEV1 40 ± 10% predicted) and 13 healthy controls during rest and exercise with optoelectronic plethysmography (70% maximum workload) on a cycle ergometer. Thoracoabdominal asynchrony was calculated by using phase angle and phase shift parameters following a three-compartment model involving the upper and lower rib cages and abdomen. Patients were classified as having thoracoabdominal asynchrony (TAA+) or not (TAA-) based on control values (mean ± 2 SDs). The chest wall volume and compartmental contribution were also measured. Thoracoabdominal asynchrony was observed in the lower rib cage. The phase angle detected more TAA+ patients at rest (15 vs. 7 patients) and during exercise (14 vs. 8 patients) compared with the phase shift. TAA+ patients also presented a lower chest wall volume, lower rib cage contribution, and higher abdominal contribution to chest wall volume compared with the control and TAA- patients. Thoracoabdominal asynchrony was more detectable during rest and exercise using the phase angle parameter, and it was observed in the lower rib cage compartment, reducing the chest wall volume during exercise in patients with COPD. NEW & NOTEWORTHY This study contributes to advance the knowledge over the previous lack of consensus on the assessment of thoracoabdominal asynchrony. We rigorously evaluated the related features that interfere in the measurement of the asynchrony (measurement tool, chest wall model and calculation parameter). Our results suggest that phase angle detects more suitably thoracoabdominal asynchrony that occurs on the lower ribcage and leads to a reduction in the chest wall volume during exercise in COPD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1106-1113
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Air trapping
  • Chest wall
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Exercise
  • Thoracoabdominal asynchrony


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