Pulmonary cachexia

A.M.W.J. Schols*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Pulmonary cachexia.

Schols AM.

Department of Pulmonology, University Maastricht, P.O. Box 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands. a.schols@pul.unimaas.nl

Weight loss is a frequent complication in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and is a determining factor of functional capacity, health status, and mortality. Weight loss in COPD is a consequence of increased energy requirements unbalanced by dietary intake. Both metabolic and mechanical inefficiency contribute to the elevated energy expenditure during physical activity, while systemic inflammation is a determinant of hypermetabolism at rest. A disbalance between protein synthesis and protein breakdown may cause a disproportionate depletion of fat-free mass in some patients. Nutritional support is indicated for depleted patients with COPD because it provides not only supportive care, but direct intervention through improvement in respiratory and peripheral skeletal muscle function and in exercise performance. A combination of oral nutritional supplements and exercise or anabolic stimulus appears to be the best treatment approach to obtaining significant functional improvement. Patients responding to this treatment even demonstrated a decreased mortality. Poor response was related to the effects of systemic inflammation on dietary intake and catabolism. The effectiveness of anticatabolic modulation requires further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-110
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002

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