Sonographic evaluation of diaphragmatic function during breathing control

A. Y.M. Jones, Shirley P.C. Ngai, M. T.C. Ying, N. R. Morris, E. L. Laakso, S. W.Y. Lee, S. M. Parry

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate the effect of “breathing control” on sonographic diaphragmatic excursion. Method: A prospective, randomized, assessor-blinded study design involving 20 physiotherapy students; ten with knowledge of the breathing control technique (Group BC) and ten without (Group CON). All participants were asked to perform a Chester step test. Group BC performed BC, while Group CON adopted their own breathing pattern during recovery after the step test. Respiratory rate and sonographic parameters of the diaphragm including diaphragmatic excursion, speed of diaphragmatic contraction (slope of contraction), and inspiratory time were recorded before and after the step test. Results: All baseline data were similar for both groups except age. Respiratory rate at 1 min post-step test was higher in Group CON (24.6±4.9 bpm) compared to Group BC (15.6 ± 3.8 bpm) (p < 0.001). Post-step test sonographic evaluation demonstrated an increase in diaphragmatic excursion with a significant time and group interaction (F(4,72)= 5.499, p = 0.005). Post hoc analysis revealed that the diaphragmatic excursion was significantly higher in Group BC compared to Group CON at first, second and third minute post-step test. Time and group interactions were not significant in inspiration time (F(4,72)= 2.459, p = 0.082) nor the slope of contraction (F(4,72)= 0.655, p = 0.582)]. Conclusion: Post-exercise diaphragmatic excursion was higher in participants applying BC. Non-invasive ultrasonography is able to promote objective evaluation of the relationship between breathing techniques and diaphragmatic function.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-567
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2017


  • Breathing control
  • diaphragm
  • diaphragmatic excursion
  • ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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