It has been demonstated by Haldane, Meakins and Priestley1 that abnormal shallowness of the respirations produces anoxemia. This is demonstrated by the occurrence of periodic breathing, cyanosis and other symptoms indicative of this condition.
The manner in which this abnormal type of breathing produces the anoxemia has also received considerable attention from them. Keith has demonstrated that the lungs do not expand after the manner of the bladder when external pressure is reduced, but like a Japanese fan. He has also pointed out that expansion of the lungs does not take place constantly and uniformly throughout. Therefore this type of breathing would of necessity exaggerate the uneven distribution of air to the alveoli.
They also found that the expired air and the alveolar air in cases exhibiting this type of respiration contained a large percentage of oxygen, which rendered it difficult to reconcile this condition with a pronounced anoxemia. The
MEAKINS J. HARMFUL EFFECTS OF SHALLOW BREATHING WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO PNEUMONIA. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1920;25(1):1-5. doi:10.1001/archinte.1920.00090300006001