Supplementary Material for: Evaluation of Respiratory Muscle Strength and Diaphragm Ultrasound: Normative Values, Theoretical Considerations, and Practical Recommendations

posted on 13.05.2020 by Spiesshoefer J., Herkenrath S., Henke C., Langenbruch L., Schneppe M., Randerath W., Young P., Brix T., Boentert M.
Background: Reference values derived from existing diaphragm ultrasound protocols are inconsistent, and the association between sonographic measures of diaphragm function and volitional tests of respiratory muscle strength is still ambiguous. Objective: To propose a standardized and comprehensive protocol for diaphragm ultrasound in order to determine lower limits of normal (LLN) for both diaphragm excursion and thickness in healthy subjects and to explore the association between volitional tests of respiratory muscle strength and diaphragm ultrasound parameters. Methods: Seventy healthy adult subjects (25 men, 45 women; age 34 ± 13 years) underwent spirometric lung function testing, determination of maximal inspiratory and expiratory pressure along with ultrasound evaluation of diaphragm excursion and thickness during tidal breathing, deep breathing, and maximum voluntary sniff. Excursion data were collected for amplitude and velocity of diaphragm displacement. Diaphragm thickness was measured in the zone of apposition at total lung capacity (TLC) and functional residual capacity (FRC). All participants underwent invasive measurement of transdiaphragmatic pressure (Pdi) during different voluntary breathing maneuvers. Results: Ultrasound data were successfully obtained in all participants (procedure duration 12 ± 3 min). LLNs (defined as the 5th percentile) for diaphragm excursion were as follows: (a) during tidal breathing: 1.2 cm (males; M) and 1.2 cm (females; F) for amplitude, and 0.8 cm/s (M) and 0.8 cm/s (F) for velocity, (b) during maximum voluntary sniff: 2.0 cm (M) and 1.5 cm (F) for amplitude, and 6.7 (M) cm/s and 5.2 cm/s (F) for velocity, and (c) at TLC: 7.9 cm (M) and 6.4 cm (F) for amplitude. LLN for diaphragm thickness was 0.17 cm (M) and 0.15 cm (F) at FRC, and 0.46 cm (M) and 0.35 cm (F) at TLC. Values for males were consistently higher than for females, independent of age. LLN for diaphragmatic thickening ratio was 2.2 with no difference between genders. LLN for invasively measured Pdi during different breathing maneuvers are presented. Voluntary Pdi showed only weak correlation with both diaphragm excursion velocity and amplitude during forced inspiration. Conclusions: Diaphragm ultrasound is an easy-to-perform and reproducible diagnostic tool for noninvasive assessment of diaphragm excursion and thickness. It supplements but does not replace respiratory muscle strength testing.