Aerobic exercise and respiratory muscle strength in patients with cystic fibrosis

Respir Med. 2013 May;107(5):684-90. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2013.01.016. Epub 2013 Feb 26.


Background: The beneficial role of exercise in maintaining health in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) is well described. Few data exist on the effect of exercise on respiratory muscle function in patients with CF. Our objective was to compare respiratory muscle function indices in CF patients that regularly exercise with those CF patients that do not.

Methods: This cross-sectional study assessed nutrition, pulmonary function and respiratory muscle function in 37 CF patients that undertook regular aerobic exercise and in a control group matched for age and gender which consisted of 44 CF patients that did not undertake regular exercise. Respiratory muscle function in CF was assessed by maximal inspiratory pressure (Pimax), maximal expiratory pressure (Pemax) and pressure-time index of the respiratory muscles (PTImus).

Results: Median Pimax and Pemax were significantly higher in the exercise group compared to the control group (92 vs. 63 cm H2O and 94 vs. 64 cm H2O respectively). PTImus was significantly lower in the exercise group compared to the control group (0.089 vs. 0.121). Upper arm muscle area (UAMA) and mid-arm muscle circumference were significantly increased in the exercise group compared to the control group (2608 vs. 2178 mm2 and 23 vs. 21 cm respectively). UAMA was significantly related to Pimax in the exercising group.

Conclusions: These results suggest that CF patients that undertake regular aerobic exercise maintain higher indices of respiratory muscle strength and lower PTImus values, while increased UAMA values in exercising patients highlight the importance of muscular competence in respiratory muscle function in this population.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry / methods
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cystic Fibrosis / physiopathology*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / rehabilitation
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maximal Expiratory Flow Rate / physiology
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiopathology*
  • Sports / physiology
  • Vital Capacity / physiology
  • Young Adult