Effect of expiratory loaded breathing during moderate exercise on intercostal muscle oxygenation
Background: In patients with obstructive lung disease, maintaining adequate ventilation during exercise may require greater contraction of the respiratory muscles, which may lead to a compression of muscle capillaries. Furthermore, dynamic hyperinflation (DH) is frequent during exercise in these patients, as it allows to reach higher expiratory flows and to satisfy respiratory demand. However, in such situation, intercostal muscles are likely to be stretched, which could affect the diameter of their capillaries. Thus, in a context of high level of expiratory resistance, intercostal muscle oxygenation may be disturbed during exercise, especially if DH occurs.
Methods: Twelve participants (22±2 years) performed two sessions of moderate exercise (20 min) by breathing freely with and without a 20-cmH2O expiratory threshold load (ETL). Tissue saturation index (TSI) and concentration changes from rest (∆) in oxygenated ([O2Hb]) and total haemoglobin ([tHb]) were measured in the seventh intercostal space using near-infrared spectroscopy. Respiratory, metabolic and cardiac variables were likewise recorded.
Results: Throughout exercise, dyspnea was higher and TSI was lower in ETL condition than in control (p<0.01). After a few minutes of exercise, ∆ [O2Hb] was also lower in ETL condition, as well as ∆ [tHb], when inspiratory capacity started to be reduced (p<0.05). Changes in [O2Hb] and dyspnea were correlated with changes in expiratory flow rate (Vt/Te) (r = -0.66 and 0.66. respectively; p<0.05).
Conclusion: During exercise with ETL, impaired muscle oxygenation could be due to a limited increase in blood volume resulting from strong muscle contraction and/or occurrence of DH.
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