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Open Access Highly Accessed Project Note

Inspiratory muscle training to facilitate weaning from mechanical ventilation: protocol for a systematic review

Lisa H Moodie1, Julie C Reeve2, Niki Vermeulen3 and Mark R Elkins4*

Author Affiliations

1 Physiotherapy Department, Greenlane Clinical Centre, Auckland, New Zealand

2 Division of Rehabilitation and Occupation Studies, Faculty of Health and Environmental Studies, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand

3 Department of Social Studies of Science, University of Vienna, Austria

4 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:283  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-283

Published: 11 August 2011



In intensive care, weaning is the term used for the process of withdrawal of mechanical ventilation to enable spontaneous breathing to be re-established. Inspiratory muscle weakness and deconditioning are common in patients receiving mechanical ventilation, especially that of prolonged duration. Inspiratory muscle training could limit or reverse these unhelpful sequelae and facilitate more rapid and successful weaning.


This review will involve systematic searching of five electronic databases to allow the identification of randomised trials of inspiratory muscle training in intubated and ventilated patients. From these trials, we will extract available data for a list of pre-defined outcomes, including maximal inspiratory pressure, the duration of the weaning period, and hospital length of stay. We will also meta-analyse comparable results where possible, and report a summary of the available pool of evidence.


The data generated by this review will be the most comprehensive answer available to the question of whether inspiratory muscle training is clinically useful in intensive care. As well as informing clinicians in the intensive care setting, it will also inform healthcare managers deciding whether health professionals with skills in respiratory therapy should be made available to provide this sort of intervention. Through the publication of this protocol, readers will ultimately be able to assess whether the review was conducted according to a pre-defined plan. Researchers will be aware that the review is underway, thereby avoid duplication, and be able to use it as a basis for planning similar reviews.