The growing urge to breathe that occurs during breath-holding results in development of involuntary breathing movements (IBMs). The present study determined whether IBMs are initiated at critical levels of hypercapnia and/or hypoxia during maximal apnoea. Arterial blood gasses at the onset of IBM were monitored during maximal voluntary breath-holds. Eleven healthy men performed breath holds after breathing air, hyperoxic-normocapnia, hypoxic-normocapnia, and normoxic-hypercapnia. Pre-breathing of the gas mixtures facilitated the IBM onset, reducing the time-to-onset for ∼46% (hyperoxic condition) and for ∼80% (hypoxic condition) compared to the normoxic air breathing time. A strong correlation (R=0.83, P=0.002) between arterial partial pressure of CO 2 (PaCO2) at IBM onset after pre-breathing hyperoxic and hypercapnic gas mixtures was observed, suggesting the existence of a possible IBM PaCO2 threshold level of ∼6.5±0.5kPa. No clear "threshold" was observed for partial pressure of arterial O 2 (PaO2). However, we observed that IBM onset was influenced, in part, by an interaction between PaO2 and PaCO2 levels during maximal apnoea. This study demonstrated the complex interaction between arterial blood-gases and the physiological response to maximal breath holding.
- Respiratory muscles
- Ventilatory control
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine