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23-06-2010 | Respiratory | Article

Physical capacity linked to lung function, body composition, and inflammation in COPD


Free abstract

MedWire News: Lung function, body composition, and systemic inflammation are the main determinants of physical capacity in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), research shows.

The findings, published in the Clinical Respiratory Journal, suggest that all three factors should be taken into account in pulmonary rehabilitation and other interventions involving physical training for patients with the respiratory condition.

Runa Hallin (Uppsala University, Sweden) and colleagues investigated the association between physical capacity, nutritional status, systemic inflammation, and disease severity in 49 patients with moderate to severe COPD who were aged an average of 66 years and had a mean FEV1 of 31% of the predicted value.

All the participants underwent lung function assessment, the cycle ergo meter test, the incremental shuttle walking test, the 12-minute walk distance test, and the hand grip strength test. Their weight, height, arm and leg circumferences, and skinfold thickness were measured, and bioelectrical impedance was performed to assess body composition.

The participants also supplied blood samples for analysis of the inflammatory markers C-reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen.

The researchers found that peak working capacity was positively associated with FEV1, body mass index, and fat-free mass, and negatively associated with CRP and fibrinogen levels.

Incremental shuttle walk test results were positively associated with FEV1 and negatively with CRP levels, while hand grip strength was positively associated with fat-free mass, and arm and leg circumferences.

A combination of age, gender, FEV1, fat free mass, and CRP levels accounted for 50–76% of the variance in physical capacity, the team notes.

“The main finding in this study was that physical exercise capacity was related to three different aspects of COPD, namely, lung function, body composition and systemic inflammation,” conclude Hallin and team.

They add that “a characterization of all three aspects of the disease might therefore be important when directing intervention strategies such as physical training in COPD.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Mark Cowen

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