What if you're too weak to breathe?


About the research

If you get sick and are too weak to breathe on your own, a mechanical ventilator can save your life. But did you know that prolonged use of such a device can also make it very difficult to breathe on your own again once you have recovered? Marine Van Hollebeke (KU Leuven) tells you why. 

Marine Van Hollebeke
KU Leuven

Marine’s research story started during a clinical internship as a physiotherapist in the intensive care unit. A particular patient was told that being discharged from the intensive care unit was not possible, because breathing without the support of a mechanical ventilator was impossible. However, with the help of daily inspiratory muscle training, the patient was able to breathe spontaneously and go home within a few weeks. Due to the remarkable effects of this muscle training, Marine became fascinated by this new therapy. She got the chance to train more patients and to improve the training protocol, which further increased her motivation and belief in this therapy. After graduating as a physiotherapist, she started her Ph.D. to be able to set up and execute a study to investigate the effects of inspiratory muscle training. At that point, her goal was to make sure that physiotherapists, doctors, and other medical staff would recognize the necessity of the inspiratory muscle training in the ICU.

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