Clinics in chest medicine vol:21 issue:4 pages:679-92
Respiratory, and particularly inspiratory, muscle function is altered in COPD. Many of these alterations are secondary to a mechanical disadvantage related to hyperinflation. Other factors, including corticosteroid therapy and nutritional depletion, are also deleterious to muscle function. In addition, the load imposed on the respiratory muscles is increased in COPD. Combined with the altered respiratory muscle function, this increase induces important changes in respiratory muscle drive and recruitment. Moreover, the imbalance between respiratory muscle function and load is an important determinant of dyspnea and hypercapnia. Because much of the lung and airway derangements are irreversible in COPD, the respiratory muscles appear to be an attractive target for therapeutic interventions.