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Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2015 Oct;51(5):557-68. Epub 2014 Nov 4.

Ventilatory function during exercise in multiple sclerosis and impact of training intervention: cross-sectional and randomized controlled trial.

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REVAL - Rehabilitation Research Center, BIOMED - Biomedical Research Center, Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, Hasselt University, Diepenbeek, Belgium -



Patients with MS (pwMS) often experience resting ventilatory anomalies. Ventilatory function during exercise and impact of long-term training intervention remains however uncertain.


The aim of this study was to examine the ventilatory function during exercise and impact of a 6-month training intervention in pwMS.


Combination of a cross-sectional (part 1) and randomized controlled trial (part 2).


University rehabilitation facility.


Caucasian patients with MS and healthy controls.


In part 1, the ventilatory function during submaximal endurance exercise was compared between pwMS (N.=37) and healthy participants (N.=15). In part 2, pwMS were then randomly assigned to a 6-month training intervention (N.=16) or usual care (N.=11). Following training intervention, ventilatory function during exercise was re-evaluated.


Despite comparable relative exercise testing intensities between groups in part 1, significantly elevated steady-state exercise dead space/tidal volume ratio, O2 uptake and CO2 output equivalent, end-tidal O2 pressure, ratings of perceived exertion and lowered end-tidal CO2 pressure and O2 pulse was observed in pwMS (P<0.05). The degree of ventilatory dysfunction during exercise correlated significantly with ratings of perceived exertion and blood lactate content (P<0.05). In part 2, despite an improved exercise tolerance (based on reductions in heart rate, blood lactate content and ratings of perceived exertion during exercise at similar workload) after a 6-month training intervention, ventilatory dysfunction remained present during endurance exercise (P>0.05).


Patients with MS experience a ventilatory dysfunction during endurance exercise, which is related to worse exercise tolerance. This ventilatory anomaly remains present after long-term training intervention.


Patients with MS experience ventilatory dysfunction during exercise. This dysfunction is related to exercise tolerance and ratings of perceived exertion. Long-term exercise training did not remediate this ventilatory dysfunction. The systematic examination of the pulmonary/cardiovascular system at rest and during exercise is recommended in MS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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