Deep breathing exercises with positive expiratory pressure in patients with multiple sclerosis - a randomized controlled trial.
Clin Respir J. 2016 Nov ;10(6):698-706. Epub 2015 Mar 2. PMID: 25620034
INTRODUCTION: Breathing exercises with positive expiratory pressure are often recommended to patients with advanced neurological deficits, but the potential benefit in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients with mild and moderate symptoms has not yet been investigated in randomized controlled trials.
OBJECTIVES: To study the effects of 2 months of home-based breathing exercises for patients with mild to moderate MS on respiratory muscle strength, lung function, and subjective breathing and health status outcomes.
METHODS: Forty-eight patients with MS according to the revised McDonald criteria were enrolled in a randomized controlled trial. Patients performing breathing exercises (n = 23) were compared with a control group (n = 25) performing no breathing exercises. The breathing exercises were performed with a positive expiratory pressure device (10-15 cmH2 O) and consisted of 30 slow deep breaths performed twice a day for 2 months. Respiratory muscle strength (maximal inspiratory and expiratory pressure at the mouth), spirometry, oxygenation, thoracic excursion, subjective perceptions of breathing and self-reported health status were evaluated before and after the intervention period.
RESULTS: Following the intervention, there was a significant difference between the breathing group and the control group regarding the relative change in lung function, favoring the breathing group (vital capacity: P < 0.043; forced vital capacity: P < 0.025). There were no other significant differences between the groups.
CONCLUSION: Breathing exercises may be beneficial in patients with mild to moderate stages of MS. However, the clinical significance needs to be clarified, and it remains to be seen whether a sustainable effect in delaying the development of respiratory dysfunction in MS can be obtained.