The effect of supplementary oral nutrition in poorly nourished patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1988 May;137(5):1075-82. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/137.5.1075.


We carried out a prospective, randomized, controlled trial to investigate the effect of a 3-month period of supplementary oral nutrition in 14 poorly nourished outpatients with COPD. Seven patients were randomized into Group 1 who received their normal diet during Months 1 to 3, a supplemented diet during Months 4 to 6, and their original normal diet during Months 7 to 9. The other 7 patients received their normal diet for the entire 9-month study period (Group 2). Seven well-nourished patients (Group 3) matched for age and severity of air-flow obstruction served as control subjects; they received their normal diet for the 9-month study period. Measurements of nutritional status, respiratory muscle and handgrip strength, sternomastoid muscle function (including frequency/force curves, maximal relaxation rate, and a fatigability test), lung function, arterial blood gas tensions, general well-being and breathlessness scores, and 6-min walking distances were carried out monthly in all patients. At the start of the study, the poorly nourished patients had lower mean daily calorie and protein intakes than did the well-nourished patients. The poorly nourished patients had lower respiratory muscle and handgrip strength, and abnormal contractility and increased fatigability of the sternomastoid muscle compared with those in the well-nourished patients. After 3 months of supplementary oral nutrition, there was a significant improvement in the nutritional status of Group 1 patients, as evidenced by an increase in body weight, triceps skinfold thickness, and midarm muscle circumference. Respiratory muscle and handgrip strength increased in parallel with nutritional status, although there were no significant changes in lung function or arterial blood gas tensions.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anthropometry
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / complications
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Nutrition Disorders / diet therapy*
  • Nutrition Disorders / etiology
  • Nutrition Disorders / pathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Random Allocation
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiopathology


  • Dietary Proteins