Effect of sighs on breathing memory and dynamics in healthy infants

David Baldwin, B. Suki, Jane Pillow, H.L. Roiha, S. Minocchieri, U. Frey

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54 Citations (Scopus)


Deep inspirations ( sighs) play a significant role in altering lung mechanical and airway wall function; however, their role in respiratory control remains unclear. We examined whether sighs act via a resetting mechanism to improve control of the respiratory regulatory system. Effects of sighs on system variability, short- and long-range memory, and stability were assessed in 25 healthy full-term infants at 1 mo of age [ mean 36 ( range 28 - 57) days] during quiet sleep. Variability was examined using moving-window coefficient of variation, short- range memory using autocorrelation function, and long-range memory using detrended fluctuation analysis. Stability was examined by studying the behavior of the attractor with use of phase-space plots. Variability of tidal volume (VT) and minute ventilation ((V) over dot E) increased during the initial 15 breaths after a sigh. Short-range memory of VT decreased during the 50 breaths preceding a sigh, becoming uncorrelated ( random) during the 10-breath presigh window. Short-range memory increased after a sigh for the entire 50 breaths compared with the randomized data set and for 20 breaths compared with the presigh window. Similar, but shorter duration, changes were noted in (V) over dot E. No change in long-range memory was seen after a sigh. Coefficient of variation and range of points located within a defined attractor segment increased after a sigh. Thus control of breathing in healthy infants shows long-range stability and improvement in short- range memory and variability after a sigh. These results add new evidence that the role of sighs is not purely mechanical.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1830-1839
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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