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Randomized Control Trial of Effects of a 10-Week Inspiratory Muscle Training Program on Measures of Pulmonary Function in Persons with Multiple Sclerosis

Fry, Donna K. PT, PhD; Pfalzer, Lucinda A. PT, PhD, FACSM; Chokshi, Anang R. DPT; Wagner, Michelle T. DPT; Jackson, Emily S. DPT

Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy: December 2007 - Volume 31 - Issue 4 - pp 162-172
doi: 10.1097/NPT.0b013e31815ce136

Pulmonary impairments have long been recognized as major causes of morbidity and mortality in individuals with advanced multiple sclerosis (MS). This study was designed to determine if a 10-week home exercise inspiratory training program in community-dwelling persons with MS improves pulmonary muscle strength and endurance. Forty-six ambulatory individuals with clinically diagnosed MS [Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) 2.0–6.5, intervention group mean = 3.96 and control group mean = 3.36] were randomly assigned to an intervention group that received 10 weeks of inspiratory muscle strength training (IMT) or a nontreatment control group. Twenty-one subjects in the control group and 20 subjects in the intervention group completed the study. The intervention group demonstrated significantly greater improvement than the control group in maximal inspiratory pressure (P < 0.001). When compared to the control group, no significant differences were noted for maximal expiratory pressure or maximal ventilation volume after training in the intervention group. Baseline and postexercise training comparison of secondary pulmonary expiratory outcomes were significant in the intervention group for forced expiratory volume at one second (FEV1) (P = 0.014), forced vital capacity (FVC) (P = 0.041), and midexpiratory flow rate(FEF25–75%) (P = 0.011). No significant changes were noted for the control group. Thus, IMT significantly increased inspiratory muscle strength and resulted in generalized improvements in expiratory pulmonary function in persons with MS who have minimal to moderate disability. Future studies are needed that focus on the long-term effects of IMT with increased resistance and the impact it has on increasing pulmonary function and functional performance.

Physical Therapy Department, University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, Michigan 48502

Address correspondence to: Donna K. Fry, E-mail:

© 2007 Neurology Section, APTA