Utility of maximum inspiratory and expiratory pressures as a screening method for respiratory insufficiency in slowly progressive neuromuscular disorders

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Maximum inspiratory and expiratory pressures (MIP and MEP) are quick, easy and noninvasive tests for the direct measurement of the strength of respiratory muscles. MIP primarily reflects the strength of the diaphragm and secondary chest wall muscles and elasticity, whereas MEP reflects a group of expiratory muscles, primarily abdominal and chest wall muscles [1-3]. In neuromuscular disorders (NMDs), a variable affection of respiratory muscles may occur during the disease course. With a few exceptions, most of the NMDs are characterized by a slowly progressive restrictive respiratory insufficiency, caused by weakness of inspiratory and expiratory muscles in a variable degree (respiratory muscle weakness, RMW) [4].

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