Authors:H Sekiguchi, Y Tamaki, Y Kondo, H Nakamura, K Hanashiro, K Yonemoto, T Moritani and I Kukita
This study aimed to evaluate neuromuscular activation in the scalene and sternocleidomastoid muscles using surface electromyography (EMG) during progressively increased inspiratory flow, produced by increasing the respiratory rate under inspiratory-resistive loading using a mask ventilator. Moreover, we attempted to identify the EMG inflection point (EMGIP) on the graph, at which the root mean square (RMS) of the EMG signal values of the inspiratory muscles against the inspiratory flow velocity acceleration abruptly increases, similarly to the EMG anaerobic threshold (EMGAT) reported during incremental-resistive loading in other skeletal muscles. We measured neuromuscular activation of healthy male subjects and found that the inspiratory flow velocity increased by approximately 1.6-fold. We successfully observed an increase in RMS that corresponded to inspiratory flow acceleration with ρ ≥ 0.7 (Spearman’s rank correlation) in 17 of 27 subjects who completed the experimental protocol. To identify EMGIP, we analyzed the fitting to either a straight or non-straight line related to the increasing inspiratory flow and RMS using piecewise linear spline functions. As a result, EMGIP was identified in the scalene and sternocleidomastoid muscles of 17 subjects. We believe that the identification of EMGIP in this study infers the existence of EMGAT in inspiratory muscles. Application of surface EMG, followed by identification of EMGIP, for evaluating the neuromuscular activation of respiratory muscles may be allowed to estimate the signs of the respiratory failure, including labored respiration, objectively and non-invasively accompanied using accessory muscles in clinical respiratory care.