Is quadriceps endurance reduced in COPD?: a systematic review

Chest. 2015 Mar;147(3):673-684. doi: 10.1378/chest.14-1079.


Background: Although the aerobic profile of the quadriceps muscle is reduced in COPD, there is conflicting evidence regarding whether this leads to reduced quadriceps muscle endurance. We, therefore, performed a systematic review of studies comparing quadriceps endurance in individuals with COPD with that in healthy control subjects.

Methods: Relevant studies were identified by searching six electronic databases (1946-2011). Full-text articles were obtained after two researchers independently reviewed the abstracts. The results were combined in a random effects meta-analysis, and metaregression models were fitted to assess the influence of the type of measurement.

Results: Data were extracted from 21 studies involving 728 individuals with COPD and 440 healthy control subjects. Quadriceps endurance was reduced in those with COPD compared with healthy control subjects (standardized mean difference, 1.16 [95% CI, 1.02-1.30]; P < .001) with a 44.5 s (4.5-84.5 s; P = .029) reduction in COPD (large effect size) when measured using a nonvolitional technique. The relationship between quadriceps endurance in those with COPD and control subjects did not differ when comparing nonvolitional and volitional techniques (P = .22) or when high- or low-intensity tasks (P = .44) were undertaken.

Conclusions: Quadriceps endurance is reduced in individuals with COPD compared with healthy control subjects, independent of the type of task performed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Quadriceps Muscle / physiopathology*
  • Severity of Illness Index