Maximal Respiratory Pressure Reference Equations in healthy adults and Cut-off Points for defining respiratory muscle weakness

Ana Lista-Paz, Daniel Langer, Margarita Barral-Fernández, Alejandro Quintela-del-Río, Elena Gimeno-Santos, Ane Arbillaga-Etxarri, Rodrigo Torres-Castro, Jordi Vilaró Casamitjana, Ana B. Varas de la Fuente, Cristina Serrano Veguillas, Pilar Bravo Cortés, Concepción Martín Cortijo, Esther García Delgado, Beatriz Herrero-Cortina, José Luis Valera, Guilherme A.F. Fregonezi, Carolina González Montañez, Rocío Martín-Valero, Marina Francín-Gallego, Yolanda Sanesteban HermidaEsther Giménez Moolhuyzen, Jorge Álvarez Rivas, Antonio T. Ríos-Cortes, Sonia Souto-Camba, Luz González-Doniz

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Maximal inspiratory and expiratory pressures (PImax/PEmax) reference equations obtained in healthy people are needed to correctly interpret respiratory muscle strength. Currently, no clear cut-off points defining respiratory muscle weakness are available. We aimed to establish sex-specific reference equations for PImax/PEmax in a large sample of healthy adults and to objectively determine cut-off points for respiratory muscle weakness. Methods: A multicentre cross-sectional study was conducted across 14 Spanish centres. Healthy non-smoking volunteers aged 18–80 years stratified by sex and age were recruited. PImax/PEmax were assessed using uniform methodology according to international standards. Multiple linear regressions were used to obtain reference equations. Cut-off points for respiratory muscle weakness were established by using T-scores. Results: The final sample consisted of 610 subjects (314 females; 48 [standard deviation, SD: 17] years). Reference equations for PImax/PEmax included body mass index and a squared term of the age as independent variables for both sexes (p < 0.01). Cut-off points for respiratory muscle weakness based on T-scores ≥2.5 SD below the peak mean value achieved at a young age were: 62 and 83 cmH2O for PImax and 81 and 109 cmH2O for PEmax in females and males, respectively. Conclusion: These reference values, based on the largest dataset collected in a European population to date using uniform methodology, help identify cut-off points for respiratory muscle weakness in females and males. These data will help to better identify the presence of respiratory muscle weakness and to determine indications for interventions to improve respiratory muscle function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-820
Number of pages8
JournalArchivos de Bronconeumologia
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Adults
  • Healthy volunteers
  • Maximal respiratory pressures
  • Muscle strength
  • Reference values
  • Respiratory function tests
  • Respiratory muscles


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