Design: Pilot study; cross-over setting.
Subjects: Two groups, 8 patients with paraplegia and 6 with tetraplegia.
Methods: Respiratory muscle endurance tests were performed at 3 different intensities of normocapnic hyperpnoea, i.e. 20%, 40% and 60% maximal voluntary ventilation. Subjects performed partial re-breathing from a bag to assure normocapnia. Respiratory endurance was separately analysed for patients with paraplegia and tetraplegia.
Results: Mean respiratory endurance times were 46.0, 18.9 and 4.2 minutes at 20%, 40% and 60% maximal voluntary ventilation in patients with tetraplegia and 51.8, 38.8 and 12.2 minutes in patients with paraplegia. The duration differed significantly at 60% maximal voluntary ventilation between the groups.
Conclusion: Minute ventilation to perform respiratory muscle endurance training can be set at around 40% of maximal voluntary ventilation for patients with tetraplegia and around 60% of maximal voluntary ventilation for patients with paraplegia, as these levels can be sustained for 10–20 minutes.