Acta Vet. Brno 2009, 78: 387-397

Wavelet Analysis of Electrical Activities from Respiratory Muscles during Coughing and Sneezing in Anaesthetized Rabbits

Juliana Knociková1, Ivan Poliaček1, Ivo Čáp2, Helena Baráni1, Ján Jakuš1

1Institute of Medical Biophysics, Jessenius Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, Martin
2Laboratory of Biomedical Engineering, University of Žilina, Slovak Republic

Received March 25, 2008
Accepted June 30, 2009

Despite high behavioural similarity, some differences in the central neural control of the cough and sneeze reflexes have been suggested. The main aim of our study was to analyze and compare characteristics of electromyographic (EMG) activities of the respiratory muscles during these two behaviours. Data were taken from eight adult rabbits under pentobarbital anaesthesia. We compared diaphragm EMG activities in tracheobronchial cough, sneeze, and quiet breathing during inspiration. Electromyograms were read from the abdominal muscles during the expiratory phases of coughing and sneezing. Due to the non-stationary character of electromyographic signals, we used wavelet analysis to determine the time-frequency distribution of energy during the behaviours. Inspiratory durations of all above mentioned behaviours were similar. The maximum inspiratory power occurred later in sneeze than during quiet inspiration (P < 0.05). The total inspiratory power during sneeze was higher compared to that in cough (P < 0.05) and quiet inspiration (P < 0.01). Lower frequencies contributed to this increase significantly more in sneeze compared to cough (less than 287.5 Hz, P < 0.05; 287.5 Hz up to 575 Hz, P < 0.01). We found similar energy distribution for coughing and quiet inspiration. Its maximum occurred at lower frequency in quiet inspiration compared to sneezing (P < 0.01). The abdominal burst during cough was longer than that in sneezing (P < 0.001). Our results support the concept that both cough and eupnoeic inspiration are generated by similar neuronal structures. A non-specific mechanism producing expiratory activity during tracheobronchial cough and sneeze is suggested.