Cardiorespiratory effects of inelastic chest wall restriction

Jordan D. Miller, Kenneth C. Beck, Michael J. Joyner, A. Glenn Brice, Bruce D. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We examined the effects of chest wall restriction (CWR) on cardiorespiratory function at rest and during exercise in healthy subjects in an attempt to approximate the cardiorespiratory interactions observed in clinical conditions that result in restrictive lung and/or chest wall changes and a reduced intrathoracic space. Canvas straps were applied around the thorax and abdomen so that vital capacity was reduced by >35%. Data were acquired at rest and during cycle ergometry at 25 and 45% of peak workloads. CWR elicited significant increases in the flow-resistive work performed on the lung (160%) and the gastric pressure-time integral (>400%) at the higher work-load, but it resulted in a decrease in the elastic work performed on the lung (56%) compared with control conditions. With CWR, heart rate increased and stroke volume (SV) fell, resulting in >10% fall in cardiac output at rest and during exercise at matched workloads (P < 0.05). Blood pressure and catecholamines were significantly elevated during CWR exercise conditions (P < 0.05). We conclude that CWR significantly impairs SV during exercise and that a compensatory increase in heart rate does not prevent a significant reduction in cardiac output. O2 consumption appears to be maintained via increased extraction and a redistribution of blood flow via sympathetic activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2419-2428
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002


  • Cardiac output
  • Exercise limitations
  • Metabolic reflexes
  • Work of breathing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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