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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1999 Oct;160(4):1205-11.

Respiratory and limb muscle function in lung allograft recipients.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Restorative Neurology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.


Lung transplantation recipients have reduced exercise capacity despite normal resting pulmonary and hemodynamic function. The limiting factor may be contractile dysfunction of skeletal muscle. To test this postulate, we measured limb and respiratory muscle function in nine clinically stable lung allograft recipients (six men and three women, aged 30 to 65 yr, at 5 to 102 mo after transplantation) with reduced exercise capacity. Respiratory muscle strength was tested by measuring maximal inspiratory and expiratory pressure (MIP and MEP, respectively). Ankle dorsiflexor muscle strength was measured during maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). In a subset of six recipients, we also measured contractile properties and fatigue characteristics of the tibialis anterior muscle, using electrical stimulation of the motor point. Data were compared with values from age- and sex-matched control subjects. MIP values of transplant recipients did not differ from control values; however, MEP was blunted by 30% relative to control (p < 0.05), and MVC was decreased by 39% (p < 0.05). The force-frequency relationships and fatigue characteristics of the tibialis anterior were not different between the patient and control groups. We conclude that stable lung allograft recipients experience expiratory and lower limb weakness that may contribute to exercise intolerance.

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