High-level activities are typically not performed by patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which results in reduced functional performance; however, the physiological parameters that contribute to this reduced performance are unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the relationships between high-level functional performance, leg muscle strength/power, aerobic power, and anaerobic power. Thirteen patients with COPD underwent an incremental maximal cardiopulmonary exercise test, quadriceps isokinetic dynamometry (isometric peak torque and rate of torque development; concentric isokinetic peak torque at 90°/sec, 180°/sec, and 270°/sec; and eccentric peak torque at 90°/sec), a steep ramp anaerobic test (SRAT) (increments of 25 watts every 10 seconds), and three functional measures (timed up and go [TUG], timed stair climb power [SCPT], and 30-second sit-to-stand test [STS]). TUG time correlated strongly (P < 0.05) with all muscle strength variables and with the SRAT. Isometric peak torque was the strongest determinant of TUG time (r = -0.92). SCPT and STS each correlated with all muscle strength variables except concentric at 270°/sec and with the SRAT. The SRAT was the strongest determinant of SCPT (r = 0.91), and eccentric peak torque at 90°/sec was most significantly associated with STS (r = 0.81). Performance on the SRAT (anaerobic power); slower-velocity concentric, eccentric, and isometric contractions; and rate of torque development are reflected in all functional tests, whereas cardiopulmonary exercise test performance (aerobic power) was not associated with any of the functional or muscle tests. High-level functional performance in patients with COPD is associated with physiological parameters that require high levels of muscle force and anaerobic work rates.
Keywords: isokinetic; sit to stand; stair climb; steep ramp; timed up and go.