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Respirology. 2009 Sep;14(7):1020-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2009.01607.x.

Acidosis and raised norepinephrine levels are associated with exercise dyspnoea in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

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Department of Internal Medicine, National Hospital Organization Toneyama National Hospital, Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan.



Exertional dyspnoea limits patients with IPF in their activities of daily living. The mechanism, however, has not been elucidated. This study tested the hypothesis in IPF that exertional dyspnoea correlates with cardiopulmonary exercise responses, specifically changes in arterial blood pH and plasma norepinephrine (NE).


Cardiopulmonary exercise testing with measurements of dyspnoea (Borg scale), plasma NE, plasma lactate and arterial blood gases were performed in 29 patients with IPF and in nine controls.


Both groups showed obvious break points in dyspnoea changes during exercise. In IPF, an abrupt change in the Borg scale, pH, PaCO(2) and plasma NE occurred in the late exercise phase after the 'break point'. Compared with controls, patients with IPF had significantly higher HCO(3)(-) levels and physiologic dead space/tidal volume during exercise. In IPF, during both exercise phases, the dyspnoea slope (DeltaBorg scale/Deltaminute ventilation) correlated with the pH slope (DeltapH/Deltaoxygen uptake) (before the break point: r = -0.537, P = 0.0022; r = -0.886, P < 0.0001, after the break point) and the NE slope (DeltaNE/Deltaoxygen uptake) (before the break point: r = 0.481, P = 0.0075; R = 0.784, P < 0.0001, after the break point).


In patients with IPF, exercise-induced acidosis and increases in circulating NE levels were associated with intensity of exertional dyspnoea.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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