Characterization of pulmonary function in 10-18 year old patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Neuromuscul Disord. 2017 Apr;27(4):307-314. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2016.12.014. Epub 2017 Jan 6.


Pulmonary function loss in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is progressive and leads to pulmonary insufficiency. The purpose of this study in 10-18 year old patients with DMD is the assessment of the inter-correlation between pulmonary function tests (PFTs), their reliability and the association with the general disease stage measured by the Brooke score. Dynamic PFTs (peak expiratory flow [PEF], forced vital capacity [FVC], forced expiratory volume in one second [FEV1]) and maximum static airway pressures (MIP, MEP) were prospectively collected from 64 DMD patients enrolled in the DELOS trial (, number NCT01027884). Baseline PEF percent predicted (PEF%p) was <80% and patients had stopped taking glucocorticoids at least 12 months prior to study start. At baseline PEF%p, FVC%p and FEV1%p correlated well with each other (Spearman's rho: PEF%p-FVC%p: 0.54; PEF%p-FEV1%p: 0.72; FVC%p-FEV1%p: 0.91). MIP%p and MEP%p correlated well with one another (MIP%p-MEP%p: 0.71) but less well with PEF%p (MIP%p-PEF%p: 0.40; MEP%p-PEF%p: 0.41) and slightly better with FVC%p (MIP%p-FVC%p: 0.59; MEP%p-FVC%p: 0.74). The within-subject coefficients of variation (CV) for successive measures were 6.97% for PEF%p, 6.69% for FVC%p and 11.11% for FEV1%p, indicating that these parameters could be more reliably assessed compared to maximum static airway pressures (CV for MIP%p: 18.00%; MEP%p: 15.73%). Yearly rates of PFT decline (placebo group) were larger in dynamic parameters (PEF%p: -8.9% [SD 2.0]; FVC%p: -8.7% [SD 1.1]; FEV1%p: -10.2% [SD 2.0]) than static airway pressures (MIP%p: -4.5 [SD 1.3]; MEP%p: -2.8 [SD 1.1]). A considerable drop in dynamic pulmonary function parameters was associated with loss of upper limb function (transition from Brooke score category 4 to category 5). In conclusion, these findings expand the understanding of the reliability, correlation and evolution of different pulmonary function measures in DMD patients who are in the pulmonary function decline phase.

Keywords: Duchenne muscular dystrophy; forced vital capacity; peak expiratory flow; pulmonary function.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / complications
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / physiopathology*
  • Respiratory Function Tests*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / etiology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / physiopathology*

Associated data