Impact of exacerbations of cystic fibrosis on muscle strength

Respir Res. 2013 Apr 19;14(1):46. doi: 10.1186/1465-9921-14-46.


Background: Adult patients with cystic fibrosis have peripheral muscle weakness, which is related to exercise intolerance and poor prognosis. The influence of acute exacerbations on muscle strength has been poorly studied. This study aimed to investigate whether quadriceps force (QF), as assessed with an involuntary technique, changes during intravenous antibiotics therapy (IVAT) for an exacerbation.

Methods: QF was measured in 20 patients using twitch stimulation of the femoral nerve at the day of hospitalization (day 1) and at termination (day 14) of the IVAT. Physical activity was monitored during IVAT using a SenseWear armband. Ten stable patients served as control subjects.

Results: QF did not change during exacerbation (potentiated twitch force at day 1: 140 ± 42 N, at day 14: 140 ± 47 N), but a decrease was observed in individual patients. Changes in twitch force during exacerbation were correlated with time spent in activities of at least moderate intensity (r = 0.61, p = 0.007).

Conclusions: QF does not systematically decrease during exacerbations of cystic fibrosis. Individual changes in QF are well correlated with daily time spent in activities of at least moderate intensity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cystic Fibrosis / physiopathology*
  • Exercise Tolerance*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity*
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscle Strength*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*