The Use of Kinematics for Pulmonary Volume Assessment
Since the movements of the lung are transmitted to the chest wall during breathing, the interest in technologies for the noninvasive monitoring of the kinematics of the thorax to study the breathing biomechanics is growing up. The analysis of the kinematics of the chest wall can be used to: (i) measure human chest wall movements, (ii) study the mechanics of breathing, and (iii) evaluate respiratory volumes during breathing. Differently from the spirometer and other equipment, tools based on the tracking of the chest wall deformities allow patients to perform breathing exercises without any kind of constraints and to investigate the unaltered breathing mechanics, as well as to separately study the behavior of each compartment of the chest wall.
The most well-established technology to assess the breathing volume of the chest wall and of its compartments (i.e., pulmonary and abdominal rib cage and abdomen) is the optoelectronic plethysmography (OEP). OEP is a motion capture system designed and validated to track a number of photo-reflective markers placed on the human chest wall. By the reconstruction of the kinematics of the chest, OEP algorithm allows the computation of the subject’s respiratory volumes and other breathing-related features.
Since 1990 a lot of research group have been developed and tested non-invasive optical technologies to assess respiratory pattern parameters, to measure asynchronies inside chest wall, to investigate patient respiratory strategies and volume moved, and to distinguish different respiratory disease. Specifically, the increasing use of OEP in clinical evaluation context in the respiratory field is widely proven by the growing number of published articles in the last few years.
Its noninvasiveness and the possibility of the use of other equipment (e.g., pressure sensors, electromyography, electrocardiogram) and devices (e.g., cycle ergometer, treadmill) at the same time allow to study a wide range of patients with different physiological and clinical condition (included the no-collaborative ones) and provide new perspective on the evaluation of ventilatory parameters.
KeywordsBreathing Respiratory volumes Breathing mechanics Chest wall kinematics Lung volumes
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