Exercise capacity, muscle strength and fatigue in sarcoidosis

Eur Respir J. 2011 Sep;38(3):628-34. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00117710. Epub 2011 Mar 24.


The aim of this case-control study was to investigate the prevalence of exercise intolerance, muscle weakness and fatigue in sarcoidosis patients. Additionally, we evaluated whether fatigue can be explained by exercise capacity, muscle strength or other clinical characteristics (lung function tests, radiographic stages, prednisone usage and inflammatory markers). 124 sarcoidosis patients (80 males) referred to the Maastricht University Medical Centre (Maastricht, the Netherlands) were included (mean age 46.6±10.2 yrs). Patients performed a 6-min walk test (6MWT) and handgrip force (HGF), elbow flexor muscle strength (EFMS), quadriceps peak torque (QPT) and hamstring peak torque (HPT) tests. Maximal inspiratory pressure (P(I,max)) was recorded. All patients completed the Fatigue Assessment Scale (FAS) questionnaire. The 6MWT was reduced in 45% of the population, while HGF, EFMS, QPT and HPT muscle strength were reduced in 15, 12, 27 and 18%, respectively. P(I,max) was reduced in 43% of the population. The majority of the patients (81%) reported fatigue (FAS ≥22). Patients with reduced peripheral muscle strength of the upper and/or lower extremities were more fatigued and demonstrated impaired lung functions, fat-free mass, P(I,max), 6MWT and quality of life. Fatigue was neither predicted by exercise capacity, nor by muscle strength. Besides fatigue, exercise intolerance and muscle weakness are frequent problems in sarcoidosis. We therefore recommend physical tests in the multidisciplinary management of sarcoidosis patients, even in nonfatigued patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology*
  • Fatigue
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscles / pathology
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Medicine / methods
  • Sarcoidosis / diagnosis
  • Sarcoidosis / physiopathology*
  • Sarcoidosis / therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • C-Reactive Protein