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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2016 April;56(4):450-7


language: English

Lung injury and respiratory mechanics in rugby union

Angus LINDSAY 1, Angelique BERNARD 2, Shaun M. DAVIDSON 3, Daniel P. REDMOND 3, Yeong S. CHIEW 3, Christopher PRETTY 3, J. Geoffrey CHASE 3, Geoffrey M. SHAW 4, Steven P. GIESEG 1, Nick DRAPER 5, 6

1 Department of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand; 2 Department of Mechanical Engineering, ENISE, Saint-Etienne, France; 3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand; 4 Intensive Care Unit, Christchurch Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand; 5 Department of Life Sciences, College of Life and Natural Sciences, University of Derby, Derby, UK; 6 School of Sport and Physical Education, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand


BACKGROUND: Rugby is a highly popular team contact sport associated with high injury rates. Specifically, there is a chance of inducing internal lung injuries as a result of the physical nature of the game. Such injuries are only identified with the use of specific invasive protocols or equipment. This study presents a model-based method to assess respiratory mechanics of N=11 rugby players that underwent a low intensity experimental Mechanical Ventilation (MV) Test before and after a rugby game.
METHODS: Participants were connected to a ventilator via a facemask and their respiratory mechanics estimated using a time-varying elastance model.
RESULTS: All participants had a respiratory elastance <10 cmH2O/L with no significant difference observed between pre and postgame respiratory mechanics (P>0.05). Model-based respiratory mechanics estimation has been used widely in the treatment of the critically ill in intensive care. However, the application of a ventilator to assess the respiratory mechanics of healthy human beings is limited.
CONCLUSIONS: This method adapted from ICU mechanical ventilation can be used to provide insight to respiratory mechanics of healthy participants that can be used as a more precise measure of lung inflammation/injury that avoids invasive procedures. This is the first study to conceptualize the assessment of respiratory mechanics in healthy athletes as a means to monitor postexercise stress and therefore manage recovery.

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