International Journal of Respiratory Medicine

All submissions of the EM system will be redirected to Online Manuscript Submission System. Authors are requested to submit articles directly to Online Manuscript Submission System of respective journal.
Reach Us +1 (629)348-3199

Editorial - International Journal of Respiratory Medicine (2024) Volume 9, Issue 1

The Diaphragm: Key Player in Inhalation and Exhalation.

Kelley Kristen *

Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Faculty of Pharmacy, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain

*Corresponding Author:
Kelley Kristen
Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Faculty of Pharmacy, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Received:29-Jan-2024, Manuscript No. AAIJRM-24-135429; Editor assigned: 31-Jan-2024, Pre QC No. AAIJRM-24-135429(PQ); Reviewed:14-Feb-2024, QC No. AAIJRM-24-135429; Revised:16-Feb-2024, Manuscript No. AAIJRM-24-135429(R); Published:21-Feb-2024, DOI: 10.35841/AAIJRM-9.1.191

Citation: Kristen K. The diaphragm: Key player in inhalation and exhalation. Int J Respir Med. 2024;9(1):191

Visit for more related articles at International Journal of Respiratory Medicine


The diaphragm, a dome-shaped muscle located beneath the lungs, is a critical component of the respiratory system [1]. As the primary muscle of respiration, it plays a central role in the process of inhalation and exhalation, facilitating the expansion and contraction of the thoracic cavity to allow for the movement of air in and out of the lungs. In this article, we delve into the anatomy, function, and significance of the diaphragm in respiratory physiology [2].

The diaphragm is a thin, muscular partition that separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity. It consists of a central tendon, which forms the apex of the dome, and peripheral muscle fibers that radiate outward from the tendon [3]. The diaphragm attaches to the lower ribs, sternum, and lumbar vertebrae, forming a sturdy but flexible structure that can change shape and position during breathing [4].

During inhalation, the diaphragm contracts and descends, increasing the volume of the thoracic cavity. This downward movement of the diaphragm creates negative pressure within the lungs, causing air to rush in through the airways [5]. Simultaneously, the intercostal muscles between the ribs contract, further expanding the chest cavity and enhancing airflow into the lungs. The diaphragm's contraction is essential for initiating inhalation and ensuring adequate oxygenation of the body's tissues [6].

Exhalation, or expiration, is primarily a passive process that occurs as the diaphragm and intercostal muscles relax. As the diaphragm returns to its resting position and the chest cavity recoils, the volume of the thoracic cavity decreases [7]. This increase in pressure within the lungs forces air out of the airways and back into the atmosphere. While the diaphragm's relaxation is not directly responsible for exhalation, its upward movement contributes to the elastic recoil of the lungs, facilitating the expulsion of air [8].

Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing or deep breathing, involves the conscious use of the diaphragm to promote efficient respiration. During diaphragmatic breathing, the diaphragm contracts more fully and descends lower than during shallow breathing, allowing for greater expansion of the lungs and increased oxygen intake. This type of breathing is often utilized in relaxation techniques, such as yoga and meditation, to promote calmness and reduce stress [9].

Disorders affecting the diaphragm can have significant implications for respiratory function and overall health. Conditions such as diaphragmatic paralysis, hernia, and muscular dystrophy can impair the diaphragm's ability to contract effectively, leading to symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and decreased exercise tolerance. Additionally, injuries to the diaphragm, such as traumatic rupture or surgical incisions, may require intervention to restore normal respiratory function [10].


The diaphragm stands as a formidable muscle, essential for the mechanics of breathing and the maintenance of respiratory function. Through its coordinated contraction and relaxation, this remarkable structure facilitates the rhythmic movement of air in and out of the lungs, ensuring the body's continuous supply of oxygen and removal of carbon dioxide. By understanding the anatomy and function of the diaphragm, we gain insight into the intricacies of respiratory physiology and the mechanisms that sustain life.


  1. Martin GS, Mannino DM, Eaton S, et al. The epidemiology of sepsis in the United States from 1979 through 2000. N Engl J Med 2003. 348:1546–1554.

Indexed at. Google Scholar, Crossref

  1. Zambon M, Vincent J-L. Mortality rates for patients with acute lung injury/ARDS have decreased over time. 2008;133:1120–1127. 

Indexed at,  Google Scholar, Crossref

  1. Spragg RG, Bernard GR, Checkley W, et al. Beyond Mortality: Future Clinical Research in Acute Lung Injury: An NHLBI Workshop Report. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010;181:1121–1127. 

Indexed at, Google Scholar, Crossref

  1. Carson SS, Cox CE, Holmes GM, et al. The changing epidemiology of mechanical ventilation: a population-based study. Journal of Intensive Care Medicine. 2006;21:173–182.

Indexed at,  Google Scholar, Crossref

  1. Needham DM, Bronskill SE, Rothwell DM, et al. Hospital volume and mortality for mechanical ventilation of medical and surgical patients: a population-based analysis using administrative data. Crit Care Med. 2006;34:2349–2354. 

Indexed at, Google Scholar, Crossref

  1. Stevens RD, Dowdy DW, Michaels RK, et al. Neuromuscular dysfunction acquired in critical illness: a systematic review. Intensive Care Med. 2007;33:1876–1891. 

Indexed atGoogle Scholar, Crossref

  1. Behrendt H, Becker WM. Localization, release and bioavailability of pollen allergens: the influence of environmental factors. Curr Opin Immunol. 2001;13(6):709-15.

Indexed at, Google scholar, Cross Ref

  1. Barnes CS. Impact of climate change on pollen and respiratory disease. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2018;18(11):59.

Indexed at, Google scholar, Cross Ref

  1. Runswick S, Mitchell T, Davies P, et al. Pollen proteolytic enzymes degrade tight junctions. Respirology. 2007;12(6):834-42.

Indexed at, Google scholar, Cross Ref

  1. Reed CE, Kita H. The role of protease activation of inflammation in allergic respiratory diseases. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004;114(5):997-1008.

Indexed at, Google scholar, Cross Ref

Get the App