Exercise capacity, muscle strength, and fatigue in sarcoidosis: a follow-up study

Lung. 2013 Jun;191(3):247-56. doi: 10.1007/s00408-013-9456-6. Epub 2013 Apr 5.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine changes in the prevalence of exercise intolerance, reduced muscle strength, and fatigue and the changes in these parameters in individual patients during a 2-year follow-up study.

Methods: Ninety sarcoidosis patients (62 males and 28 females; mean age: 46.0 ± 10.2 years) participated in a 2-year follow-up study. At the baseline and follow-up measurements, patients performed a 6-min walk test and elbow flexor muscle strength, quadriceps peak torque, and hamstrings peak torque tests. Maximal inspiratory pressure was recorded. All patients completed the Fatigue Assessment Scale.

Results: Both at baseline and follow-up, a substantial proportion of the patients showed a reduced 6-minute walk test (41.6 and 34.8 %, respectively), elbow flexor muscle strength (6.7 and 14.6 %), quadriceps peak torque (21.3 and 18 %), hamstrings peak torque (13.5 and 12.4 %), and maximal inspiratory pressure (45.9 and 48.6 %). The majority of the patients reported fatigue (86 and 77 %). These physical impairments remained stable during the follow-up period. The prevalence of these physical impairments in patients diagnosed with sarcoidosis <2 years before inclusion in this study was similar to that in patients with a longer history of the disease.

Conclusions: Exercise intolerance, muscle weakness, and fatigue are frequent problems in symptomatic sarcoidosis patients with a stable and persistent character. This study highlights that beyond medical treatment a rehabilitation program should be considered as adjunct therapy in the multidisciplinary management of sarcoidosis patients even though the achieved benefit needs future studies.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00854672.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Tolerance*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Inhalation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Fatigue*
  • Muscle Strength*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Quadriceps Muscle / physiopathology
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiopathology
  • Sarcoidosis / diagnosis
  • Sarcoidosis / physiopathology*
  • Time Factors
  • Torque

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00854672