Monitoring and preventing diaphragm injury

Leo M.A. Heunks*, Jonne Doorduin, Johannes G. Van Der Hoeven

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose of Review: The present review summarizes developments in the field of respiratory muscle monitoring, in particular in critically ill patients. Recent Findings: Patients admitted to the ICU may develop severe respiratory muscle dysfunction in a very short time span. Among other factors, disuse and sepsis have been associated with respiratory muscle dysfunction in these patients. Because weakness is associated with adverse outcome, including prolonged mechanical ventilation and mortality, it is surprising that respiratory muscle dysfunction largely develops without being noticed by the clinician. Respiratory muscle monitoring is not standard of care in most ICUs. Improvements in technology have opened windows for monitoring the respiratory muscles in critically ill patients. Diaphragm electromyography and esophageal pressure measurement are feasible techniques for respiratory muscle monitoring, although the effect on outcome remains to be investigated. Summary: Respiratory muscle dysfunction develops rapidly in selected critically ill patients and is associated with adverse outcome. Recent technological advances allow real-time monitoring of respiratory muscle activity in these patients. Although this field is in its infancy, from a physiological perspective, it is reasonable to assume that monitoring respiratory muscle activity improves outcome in these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-41
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Critical Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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