Abstract 2395: Respiratory Muscle Weakness in Acute Stroke Patients
Background: Increased frequency of chest infections in acute stroke patients may be the result of respiratory muscle weakness contributing to a weak cough and poor airway clearance. We undertook a systematic review of studies comparing respiratory muscle strength in acute stroke patients with age-matched controls.
Method: A systematic review of literature was performed using the electronic databases Medline, EMBASE, ISI web of knowledge and the Scopus. The key words searched were stroke or cerebrovascular accident in combination withcough, inspiratory, expiratory or respiratory and strength or weakness. Studies were included if they compared stroke patients with age matched controls and measured maximum inspiratory or expiratory mouth pressure (PImax and PEmax) for inspiratory and expiratory muscle strength respectively.
Results: The initial search identified 136 articles, 14 of which remained after screening for pre-defined inclusion criteria and removal of duplicates. Eleven were excluded after reviewing abstracts (5 did not assess muscle strength, 5 did not include healthy control group, 1 absolute values could not be obtained). A further study was identified from the reference lists of screened articles. The 4 studies that met inclusion criteria included 121 subjects. Mean PImax ranged from 75-99 cmH2O in controls and 37-74 cmH2O in stroke patients. (mean difference 41 cmH2O, 95% CI 54 to 29 cm H2O; P<0.0001). Mean PEmax ranged from 52-89 cm H2O in stroke patients and was also reduced compared with age matched controls (mean difference 55 cmH2O, 95% CI 61 to 48 cmH2O; P<0.0001). (Fig 1).
Conclusion: Individual studies and pooled data suggest that respiratory muscle strength is impaired in acute stroke patients. However, these studies are limited by small samples and design heterogeneity. Larger studies are needed to assess the relationship of respiratory muscle weakness with chest infections and clinical outcomes in the acute phase.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.