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Longitudinal changes to quadriceps thickness demonstrate acute sarcopenia following admission to hospital for an exacerbation of chronic respiratory disease
  1. Hamish J C McAuley1,2,
  2. Theresa C Harvey-Dunstan3,
  3. Michelle Craner2,
  4. Matthew Richardson1,
  5. Sally J Singh1,2,
  6. Michael C Steiner1,2,
  7. Neil J Greening1,2
  1. 1Department of Respiratory Sciences, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
  2. 2Centre for Exercise and Rehabilitation Science, Institute for Lung Health, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester, UK
  3. 3Division of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Science, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Neil J Greening, Department of Respiratory Sciences, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK; neil.greening{at}


Acute admission to hospital for an exacerbation of chronic respiratory disease (CRD) may impair skeletal muscle mass and function. We measured quadriceps thickness (Qthick), as a surrogate marker of muscle mass, at hospital admission, discharge, 6 weeks and 3 months in 55 patients with CRD. Qthick fell by 8.3% during the period of hospitalisation, which was sustained at 6 weeks, and only partially recovered at 3 months. Sustained loss was most marked in patients readmitted during the follow-up period. Acute reduction in quadriceps muscle mass occurs during hospitalisation, with prolonged and variable recovery, which is prevented with subsequent hospital readmission.

  • COPD exacerbations
  • exercise
  • pulmonary rehabilitation
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  • Contributors NG accepts overall responsibility for integrity of data and analysis. All authors (HJCM, MC, NG, TCH-D, MR, SJS and MCS) contributed to design, analysis, interpretation and writing of the work. NG, TCH-D and MC were responsible for acquisition of data.

  • Funding This work was supported by funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care East Midlands (CLAHRC EM) and the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre – Respiratory Theme. NG is funded by a NIHR post‐doctoral fellowship (PDF‐2017‐10‐052).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was given by the National Research Ethics Service (09/H0403/76 and 18/EM/0114), respectively.

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