Integrated approach for in vivo evaluation of respiratory muscles mechanics

Anat Ratnovsky, Uri Zaretsky, Robert J. Shiner, David Elad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The respiratory muscles constitute the respiratory pump, which determines the efficacy of ventilation. Any functional disorder in their performance may cause insufficient ventilation. This study was designed to quantitatively explore the relative contribution of major groups of respiratory muscles to global lung ventilation throughout a range of maneuvers in healthy subjects. A computerized experimental system was developed for simultaneous noninvasive measurement of inspired/expired airflow, mouth pressure and up to 8 channels of EMG surface signals from major respiratory muscles which are located near the skin (e.g., sternomastoid, external intercostal, rectus abdominis and external oblique) during various respiratory maneuvers. Lung volumes values were calculated by integration of airflow data. Hill's muscle model was utilized to calculate the forces generated by the muscles from the acquired EMG data. Analysis of EMG measurements and respiratory muscles forces revealed the following characteristics: (a) muscle activity increased with increased breathing effort, (b) inspiratory muscles contributed to inspiration even at relatively low flow rates, while expiratory muscles are recruited at higher flow rates, (c) the forces generated by the muscle depended on the muscle properties as well as on their EMG performance and (d) the pattern of the muscle's force curves varied between subjects, but were generally consistent for the same subject regardless of breathing effort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1771-1784
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Chest wall
  • EMG
  • Hill model
  • Muscle force
  • Respiratory pump


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