Breathlessness — The Sense of Respiratory Muscle Effort

  • Kieran J. Killian
Part of the Wenner-Gren Center International Symposium Series book series (WGS)


The sensation of breathlessness is so commonly linked to disorders of the heart, lungs and neuromuscular systems that its occurence in normal people is neglected. Meakins (27, 28) reasoned that breathlessness was the perception of respiratory muscle effort and as such was quantitative “occurring in normal subjects and athletes”. Despite: (1) the simplicity of this hypothesis; (2) its ability to explain the occurence of breathlessness in both health and disease; (3) its ability to explain all the circumstances in which breathlessness occurs; there have been few attempts to establish its validity.


Maximum Exercise Motor Command Inspiratory Muscle Borg Scale Maximum Inspiratory Pressure 
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© The Wenner-Gren Center 1986

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  • Kieran J. Killian

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