Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has significant systemic effects that substantially impact quality of life and survival. The purpose of this study was to assess and compare peripheral muscle strength and endurance, exercise capacity, fatigue perception and quality of life between patients with COPD and healthy subjects.
Methods: Twenty COPD patients (mean FEV1 49.3 ± 19.2%) and 20 healthy subjects were included in the study. Pulmonary function testing and six-minute walk test (6MWT) were performed. Peripheral muscle strength was measured with a hand-held dynamometer, peripheral muscle endurance was evaluated with sit-ups, squats and modified push-ups tests. Fatigue perception was assessed using the Fatigue Impact Scale (FIS) and Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS). General quality of life was determined with the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP), and cough-specific quality of life was evaluated with the Leicester Cough Questionnaire (LCQ).
Results: Pulmonary functions, strength of shoulder abductor and flexor muscles, numbers of sit-ups and squats, 6MWT distance and 6MWT% were significantly lower in COPD patients than in healthy subjects (p < 0.05). FIS psychosocial sub-dimension and total scores, NHP scores for all sub-dimensions except pain sub-dimension of the COPD group were significantly higher than those of healthy subjects (p < 0.05). The LCQ physical, psychological and social sub-dimensions and total scores were significantly lower in COPD patients than in healthy subjects (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: Pulmonary functions, peripheral muscle strength and endurance, exercise capacity and quality of life were adversely affected in patients with COPD. There are greater effect of fatigue on psychosocial functioning and general daily life activities and effect of cough on the quality of life in patients with COPD. This study supports the idea that COPD patients must be evaluated in a comprehensive manner for planning pulmonary rehabilitation programs.