Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Eur Respir J. 2004 Jul;24(1):137-42.

Acute effect of oral steroids on muscle function in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Author information

  • 1Respiratory Muscle Laboratory, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK.


Prospective data to support the hypothesis that corticosteroids are a significant cause of muscle weakness in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are lacking. The authors studied respiratory and quadriceps muscle function, using both volitional techniques and magnetic nerve stimulation, as well as measuring metabolic parameters during incremental cycle ergometry, in 25 stable COPD patients. The forced expiratory volume in one second was 37.6 +/- 21.4% predicted, before and after a 2-week course of o.d. prednisolone 30 mg. Quadriceps strength was also assessed in 15 control patients on two occasions. Only two patients met the British Thoracic Society definition of steroid responsiveness. There was no change either in sniff transdiaphragmatic pressure (pre: 96.8 +/- 19.7 cmH2O; post: 98.6 +/- 22.4 cmH2O) or in twitch transdiaphragmatic pressure elicited by bilateral anterolateral magnetic phrenic-nerve stimulation (pre: 16.8 +/- 9.1 cmH2O; post: 17.9 +/- 10 cmH2O). Quadriceps twitch force did not change significantly either in the steroid group (pre: 9.5 +/- 3.1 kg; post: 8.9 +/- 3.7 kg) or in the control patients (pre: 8.1 +/- 2.7 kg; post: 7.9 +/- 2.2 kg). There were no changes in either peak or isotime ventilatory and metabolic parameters during exercise. In conclusion, in stable patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a 2-week course of 30 mg prednisolone daily does not cause significant skeletal muscle dysfunction or alter metabolic parameters during exercise.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk