Apneustic breathing with respiration arrested in tonic inspiration is rare in man. Clinical reports of respiratory abnormalities following the 1919-1921 influenza-encephalitis pandemic include descriptions of inspiratory breath holding, which may have been physiological apneusis.1 Apneusis has been described in a premature infant with medullary hemorrhages.2 However, previous physiological or pathological studies on adult humans with tonic inspiratory pnea are laking.
We present here examples of well-documented apneustic breathing in two adults, both of whom had lesions destroying the dorsal-lateral pons rostral to the trigeminal nerves. Neither patient had lesions involving vagal pathways or medulla oblongata. Since these humans did not have the combined pontine-vagal lesions associated classically with apneusis in animals,3,4 their findings prompted us to re-examine traditional concepts of central respiratory control.
Apneusis was given its identity its identity by Marckwald3 in 1888 and its name by Lumsden4 in 1923. Marckwald (and several
PLUM F, ALVORD EC. Apneustic Breathing in Man. Arch Neurol. 1964;10(1):101–112. doi:10.1001/archneur.1964.00460130105014
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