Extrapulmonary features of bronchiectasis: muscle function, exercise capacity, fatigue, and health status

Multidiscip Respir Med. 2012 Jun 11;7(1):3. doi: 10.1186/2049-6958-7-3.


Background: There are limited number of studies investigating extrapulmonary manifestations of bronchiectasis. The purpose of this study was to compare peripheral muscle function, exercise capacity, fatigue, and health status between patients with bronchiectasis and healthy subjects in order to provide documented differences in these characteristics for individuals with and without bronchiectasis.

Methods: Twenty patients with bronchiectasis (43.5 ± 14.1 years) and 20 healthy subjects (43.0 ± 10.9 years) participated in the study. Pulmonary function, respiratory muscle strength (maximal expiratory pressure - MIP - and maximal expiratory pressure - MEP), and dyspnea perception using the Modified Medical Research Council Dyspnea Scale (MMRC) were determined. A six-minute walk test (6MWT) was performed. Quadriceps muscle, shoulder abductor, and hand grip strength (QMS, SAS, and HGS, respectively) using a hand held dynamometer and peripheral muscle endurance by a squat test were measured. Fatigue perception and health status were determined using the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) and the Leicester Cough Questionnaire (LCQ), respectively.

Results: Number of squats, 6MWT distance, and LCQ scores as well as lung function testing values and respiratory muscle strength were significantly lower and MMRC and FSS scores were significantly higher in patients with bronchiectasis than those of healthy subjects (p < 0.05). In bronchiectasis patients, QMS was significantly associated with HGS, MIP and MEP (p < 0.05). The 6MWT distance was significantly correlated to LCQ psychological score (p < 0.05). The FSS score was significantly associated with LCQ physical and total and MMRC scores (p < 0.05). The LCQ psychological score was significantly associated with MEP and 6MWT distance (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Peripheral muscle endurance, exercise capacity, fatigue and health status were adversely affected by the presence of bronchiectasis. Fatigue was associated with dyspnea and health status. Respiratory muscle strength was related to peripheral muscle strength and health status, but not to fatigue, peripheral muscle endurance or exercise capacity. These findings may provide insight for outcome measures for pulmonary rehabilitation programs for patients with bronchiectasis.