Electromyographic manifestations of fatigue correlate with pulmonary function, 6-minute walk test, and time to exhaustion in COPD

Gennaro Boccia, Davide Dardanello, Nicoletta Rinaldo, Giuseppe Coratella, Federico Schena, Alberto Rainoldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to investigate whether electromyographic manifestations of fatigue and exercise tolerance were related to stage of disease in men with a COPD diagnosis. METHODS: Fourteen men with COPD with a diagnosis of mild to severe air flow obstruction were involved in 2 separate testing sessions. The first one consisted of a pulmonary function (FEV1 and FEV1/FVC) and an exercise tolerance assessment using the 6-min walk test. During the second session, a multichannel surface electromyography was recorded from vastus medialis and vastus lateralis muscles during an isometric knee extension at 70% of maximum voluntary contraction. The slope of muscle fiber conduction velocity during the contraction was calculated as the index of fatigue. RESULTS: Conduction velocity slope significantly correlated with FEV1 (vastus medialis: r = 0.86, P 1/FVC (vastus medialis: r = 0.70, P =.006), and 6-min walk test (vastus medialis: r = 0.72, P =.005; vastus lateralis: r = 0.80, P =.001). CONCLUSIONS: The electromyographic manifestations of fatigue during sustained quadriceps contraction significantly correlated with disease severity and exercise tolerance in moderate to severe COPD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1295-1302
Number of pages8
JournalRespiratory Care
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2015



  • 6-minute walk test
  • COPD
  • Electromyography
  • Muscle endurance
  • Neuromuscular fatigue
  • Vastus lateralis
  • Vastus medialis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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