Study objectives: To investigate the effects of high-intensity inspiratory muscle training (IMT) on inspiratory muscle function (IMF), diaphragm thickness, lung function, physical work capacity (PWC), and psychosocial status in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF).
Design: Twenty-nine adult patients with CF were randomly assigned to three groups. Two groups were required to complete an 8-week program of IMT in which the training intensity was set at either 80% of maximal effort (group 1; 9 patients) or 20% of maximal effort (group 2; 10 patients). A third group of patients did not participate in any form of training and acted as a control group (group 3; 10 patients).
Interventions: In all patients, baseline and postintervention measures of IMF were determined by maximal inspiratory pressure (Pimax), and sustained Pimax (SPimax); pulmonary function, body composition, and physical activity status were also determined. In addition, diaphragm thickness was measured at functional residual capacity (FRC) and total lung capacity (TLC) [TDIcont], and the diaphragm thickening ratio (TR) was calculated (TR = thickness during Pimax at FRC/mean thickness at FRC). Subjects also completed an incremental cycle ergometer test to exhaustion and two symptom-related questionnaires, prior to and following training.
Results: Following training, significant increases in Pimax and SPimax (p < 0.05), TDIcont (p < 0.05), TR (p < 0.05), vital capacity (p < 0.05), TLC (p < 0.05), and PWC (p < 0.05) were identified, and decreases in anxiety scores (p < 0.05) and depression scores (p < 0.01) were noted in group 1 patients compared to group 3 patients. Group 2 patients significantly improved Pimax and SPimax (both p < 0.05) only with respect to group 3 patients. No significant differences were observed in group 3 patients.
Conclusion: An 8-week program of high-intensity IMT resulted in significant benefits for CF patients, which included increased IMF and thickness of the diaphragm (during contraction), improved lung volumes, increased PWC, and improved psychosocial status.