The nature of breathing during hypocapnia in awake man

D. R. Corfield, M. J. Morrell, A. Guz

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We have studied post-hyperventilation breathing pattern in eight, awake, healthy, naive volunteers after 5 min voluntary or mechanical hyperventilation during normocapnia (Petco2 = 38mmHg) and hypocapnia (24 mmHg). Breathing was monitored for 10 min post-hyperventilation, 'non-invasively', using calibrated respiratory inductance plethysmography; wakefulness was confirmed with electroencephalography. Comparison of breathing following hypocapnic voluntary hyperventilation with that following hypocapnic mechanical hyperventilation indicated that ventilation was elevated following voluntary hyperventilation; this would suggest that 'after-discharge' exists in man following active hyperventilation, even during hypocapnia. In the absence of 'after-discharge' (i.e. following mechanical hyperventilation), hypocapnia was clearly associated with hypoventilation. Apnoeas (increased Te) were present during hypocapnia; but neither the duration nor the occurrence of apnoea was related to the absolute level of PetcCO2. Most notable, was the marked increase in breath-by-breath variability of Ti, Te and Vt during hypocapnia. The increased variability of breathing during hypocapnia may reflect fluctuations in behavioural drives associated with wakefulness. © 1995.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)145-159
    Number of pages14
    JournalRespiration Physiology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 1995


    • (breathing pattern)
    • (human)
    • (post-hyperventilation breathing)
    • (voluntary vs. mechanical)
    • Control of breathing
    • Hyperventilation
    • Hypocapnia
    • Mammals


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