Upper limb extremity muscle-dysfunction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: A narrative review

Kulkarni M. Suhas, Gopala K. Alaparthi, Shyam K. Krishnan, Kalyana C. Bairapareddy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Peripheral muscle dysfunction is one of the major comorbidities seen in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Focusing more on upper extremity, unsupported elevation of arms results in a change in the recruitment pattern of the respiratory muscles. Over the years, many tests were developed to assess the upper limb capacity and include them in various rehabilitation protocol. Objective: To review the evidence on mechanism, tests, and rehabilitation protocol for the upper limb extremity muscle-dysfunction occurring in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Methods: PubMed and Google scholar databases were searched. Based on the inclusion criteria’s:-Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases patients, any Randomized Controlled or clinical trials, systematic reviews, explaining upper limb extremity muscle dysfunction, various tests to assess upper limb functional capacity and different ways of upper limb extremity training, a total of 15 articles were retrieved. Results: The mechanism of upper extremity muscle dysfunction is now well understood. Various tests were designed in order to assess arm strength, arm endurance and functional capacity. All the studies which included upper limb extremity training as a part of the rehabilitation program, showed beneficial results in terms of reduction of dyspnoea and arm fatigue, as well as improving the activity performing capacity. Conclusion: This review concluded that the alteration in the upper limb extremity muscles is an inevitable consequence of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, which can be confirmed by various upper extremity tests, with patients responding positively to the upper limb training incorporated during pulmonary rehabilitation protocols.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Respiratory Medicine Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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