The effect of low frequency breathing compared with spontaneous breathing was examined at rest and during exercise (40 watts) in 12 patients suffering from severe chronic obstructive bronchitis. At rest low frequency breathing improved significantly the alveolar ventilation and the tensions of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the arterial blood. There was no significant change in ventilation minute volume. During exercise low frequency breathing significantly decreased ventilation minute volume, and there was no significant improvement in gas exchange. The decrease in ventilation during low frequency breathing at 40 watts compared with spontaneous breathing at the same lung volume was due to expiratory flow limitation. The findings suggest that this technique may impair exercise tolerance in patients with severe chronic obstructive bronchitis.
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