Eccentric Contractions of the Diaphragm During Mechanical Ventilation

Patricio García-Valdés, Tiziana Fernández, Yorschua Jalil, Luis Peñailillo, L. Felipe Damiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Diaphragm dysfunction is a highly prevalent phenomenon in patients receiving mechanical ventilation, mainly due to ventilatory over-assistance and the development of diaphragm disuse atrophy. Promoting diaphragm activation whenever possible and facilitating an adequate interaction between the patient and the ventilator is encouraged at the bedside to avoid myotrauma and further lung injury. Eccentric contractions of the diaphragm are defined as muscle activation while muscle fibers are lengthening within the exhalation phase. There is recent evidence that suggests that eccentric activation of the diaphragm is very frequent and may occur during post-inspiratory activity or under different types of patient-ventilator asynchronies, which include ineffective efforts, premature cycling, and reverse triggering. The consequences of this eccentric contraction of the diaphragm may have opposite effects, depending on the level of breathing effort. For instance, during high or excessive effort, eccentric contractions can result in diaphragm dysfunction and injured muscle fibers. Conversely, when eccentric contractions of the diaphragm occur along with low breathing effort, a preserved diaphragm function, better oxygenation, and more aerated lung tissue are observed. Despite this controversial evidence, evaluating the level of breathing effort at the bedside seems crucial and is highly recommended to optimize ventilatory therapy. The impact of eccentric contractions of the diaphragm on the patient's outcome remains to be elucidated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1757-1762
Number of pages6
JournalRespiratory Care
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2023


  • diaphragm
  • eccentric contraction
  • mechanical ventilation
  • reverse trigger
  • reverse triggering
  • ventilator weaning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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