Mechanics of respiratory muscles in single-lung transplant recipients

Anat Ratnovsky*, David Elad, Gabriel Izbicki, Mordechai R. Kramer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis force the patients to breathe at an abnormal lung volume, which alters the lengths of the respiratory muscles and thereby their work capability is reduced. After single-lung transplantation, muscle function is restored on the side of the transplant but it may be asymmetric to that on the side of the native diseased lung. Objective: Investigating the hypothesis that single-lung transplantation induces mechanical asymmetry of the respiratory muscles on the two sides. Methods: Simultaneously noninvasive measurements of inspiratory and expiratory mouth pressure, airflow rate and electromyography signals from the sternomastoid, external intercostal, rectus abdominis and external oblique muscles were acquired during different breathing maneuvers. The study group included 10 single-lung transplant recipients (5 with pulmonary fibrosis and 5 with emphysema) and 10 healthy controls. Results: Analysis of the finding shows a significant lower global strength of the respiratory muscles of single-lung transplant recipients compared to that of healthy subjects. No significant difference in the EMG signals of respiratory muscles was found either between the different groups or between the sides of the transplant and the native lung in the patient groups. Both single-lung transplant recipients and healthy subjects demonstrated high EMG activity of the inspiratory muscles during inspiration at different breathing efforts. Conclusion: Patients after single-lung transplantation have lower respiratory muscle strength than healthy subjects, but apparently normal electrical activity. The lower global respiratory muscle strength emphasizes the importance of their rehabilitation before and after single-lung transplantation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)642-650
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Electromyography
  • Emphysema
  • Lung surgery
  • Lung transplantation
  • Mouth pressure
  • Pulmonary fibrosis


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