Volume detection during voluntary and passive breathing

T. Y. Sullivan, S. Muzzin, R. D. Hamilton, L. Adams, S. A. Shea, R. L. Horner, A. Guz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The ability to detect small changes in tidal volume (Vt) during either volitional or passive breathing was compared in seven normal subjects. Passive breathing was achieved with positive pressure applied at the mouth by a ventilator. Although baseline breathing pattern was similar for each subject during the two types of breathing, the ability of the subjects to detect changes in Vt was at least as good, and in general better, during passive as compared to volitional breathing. This suggests that the generation of a motor cortical command to inspire and the resultant respiratory muscle contraction are not essential to the perception of a change in lung volume. An increase in information from receptors in the mouth, pharynx and extrathoracic airways sensitive to positive pressure may be responsible for the increased ability of most subjects to detect changes in Vt during passive breathing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-335
Number of pages13
JournalRespiration Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Afferent feedback from lung, and tidal volume perception
  • Control of breathing
  • Detection of tidal volume
  • perception of changing tidal volume

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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