The validity of surface EMG of extra-diaphragmatic muscles in assessing respiratory responses during mechanical ventilation: A systematic review

Academic Article


  • Purpose: Evidence supporting the utilization of surface EMG (sEMG) of extra-diaphragmatic muscles for monitoring of mechanical ventilation (MV) assistance is unclear. The purpose of this review was to assess the quality of literature available on using extra-diaphragmatic sEMG as an assessment technique of respiratory responses during MV. Methods: Studies using sEMG of extra-diaphragmatic respiratory muscles during MV were selected by two independent researchers after performing a database search of PubMed, CINAHL, GOOGLE SCHOLAR. Exclusion criteria were studies of patients with neuromuscular disorders, receiving neuromuscular blocking agents, receiving non-invasive MV, using needle EMG, and studies written in languages other than English. Quality of identified studies was assessed with the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (QUADAS-2). This study is registered with PROSPERO, number (CRD42018081341). Results: 596 references were identified. Of the identified studies, 7 studies were included in the review. Findings demonstrate that sEMG of extra-diaphragmatic muscle activity is a valid and applicable tool to evaluate mechanical loading/unloading of respiratory muscles and respiratory drive or sensation. However, the quality of literature supporting sEMG as monitoring tool of respiratory responses were characterized by a high and unclear risk of bias. Conclusions: Although it appears to be a valid and applicable tool, there is a scarcity of literature that directly demonstrates the diagnostic accuracy of sEMG of extra-diaphragmatic muscles in monitoring respiratory mechanics and respiratory drive or sensation during MV assistance across wide populations and conditions.
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    Author List

  • AbuNurah HY; Russell DW; Lowman JD
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  • 378