1. The question whether respiratory muscle fatigue ever causes respiratory failure is over 40 years old, but we still have no definitive answer to this question. Skeletal muscle fatigue occurs when the rate of energy consumption of themu scle is greater than the energy supplied, so that energy stores are utilized and eventually become depleted.

2. Five factors which are important in the development of muscle fatigue (a, the tension developed by the muscle; b, the maximum tension the muscle can develop; c, the energy stored within the muscle; d, the energy supplied to the muscle; e, the efficiency of the muscle). These can be affected in many diseases, so disposing to fatigue, thus respiratory muscle fatigue is likely to be a common occurrence.

3. Respiratory muscle fatigue can in principle easily be diagnosed at the bedside by application of a simple electromyographic technique used to detect fatigue in other skeletal muscles.

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