To examine the effects of respiratory muscle training on respiratory function, respiratory muscle strength, and exercise tolerance in patients poststroke.
We searched MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, Embase, SciELO, Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro), and CINAHL (from the earliest date available to November 2015) for trials.
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the effects of respiratory muscle training versus nonrespiratory muscle training in patients poststroke. Two reviewers selected studies independently.
Extracted data from the published RCTs. Study quality was evaluated using the PEDro Scale. Weighted mean differences (WMDs), standard mean differences (SMDs), and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated.
Eight studies met the study criteria. Respiratory muscle training improved maximal inspiratory pressure WMDs (7.5; 95% CI, 2.7–12.4), forced vital capacity SMDs (2.0; 95% CI, 0.6–3.4), forced expiratory volume at 1 second SMDs (1.2; 95% CI, 0.6–1.9), and exercise tolerance SMDs (0.7; 95% CI, 0.2–1.2). No serious adverse events were reported.
Respiratory muscle training should be considered an effective method of improving respiratory function, inspiratory muscle strength, and exercise tolerance in patients poststroke. Further research is needed to determine optimum dosages and duration of effect.
List of abbreviations:CI (confidence interval), FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in 1 second), FVC (forced vital capacity), MEP (maximal expiratory pressure), MIP (maximal inspiratory pressure), PEDro (Physiotherapy Evidence Database), RCT (randomized controlled trial)
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Published online: May 20, 2016
© 2016 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine