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October 7, 1974

Abnormal Breathing Patterns: Their Mechanisms and Clinical Significance

Author Affiliations

From the Pulmonary Section, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

JAMA. 1974;230(1):57-58. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240010025022

THE development over the past 30 years of tests of pulmonary mechanics and gas exchange has allowed defects in the function of the lung to be characterized precisely. Advances in the understanding of the mechanisms that cause abnormalities in breathing patterns, either in level or in rhythm, have been much less rapid. In large part, this slow rate of progress has occurred because the control of breathing could not be evaluated easily or accurately and because it was not appreciated that the control of physiological functions and the control of processes by machines had much in common. In recent years, information on the control of breathing has been acquired at an increasing rate with (1) the development of rebreathing methods that allow ventilatory responses to hypoxia and hypercapnia to be assessed in a few minutes,1,2 (2) the use of esophageal electrodes to measure diaphragm electromyographic response, a more direct