Relationship between daily physical activity and aerobic fitness in adults with cystic fibrosis

Daniela Savi, Marcello Di Paolo, Nicholas Simmonds, Paolo Onorati, Mattia Internullo, Serena Quattrucci, Banya Winston, Pierantonio Laveneziana, Paolo Palange

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The best clinical practice to investigate aerobic fitness includes measurements obtained during cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET), however it remains an underutilised clinical measure in cystic fibrosis (CF). To investigate this further, different methods of quantifying exercise capacity in CF are required. The possibility that measuring physical activity (PA) by a portable accelerometer could be used to assess the CF aerobic state and could be added among the CPET surrogates has not been investigated. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between PA and exercise fitness both at submaximal and maximal levels in clinically stable adults with CF. Methods: Thirty CF patients (FEV1 71 ± 19% predicted) and fifteen healthy controls undertook an incremental CPET on a cycle ergometer. CPET-related measurements included: oxygen uptake (V'O2), carbon dioxide production (V'CO2), ventilatory profile, heart rate (HR) and oxygen pulse (V'O2/HR) throughout exercise and at lactic threshold (LT) and peak. LT measures represent submaximal exercise related data. PA was assessed using the accelerometer SenseWear Pro3 Armband. Results: Moderate (>4.8 metabolic equivalents (METS)) and moderate + vigorous (>7.2 METS) PA was related to V'O2 (p = 0.005 and p = 0.009, respectively) and work rate (p = 0.004 and p = 0.002, respectively) at LT. Moderate PA or greater was positively related to peak V'O2 (p = 0.005 and p = 0.003, respectively). Daily PA levels were similar in CF and healthy controls. Except for peak values, V'O2 profile and the V'O2 at LT were comparable between CF and healthy controls. Conclusions: In adult CF patients daily PA positively correlated with aerobic capacity. PA measurements are a valuable tool in the assessment of exercise performance in an adult CF population and could be used for interventional exercise trials to optimize exercise performance and health status. PA levels and parameters obtained at submaximal exercise are similar in CF and in healthy controls.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Pulmonary Medicine
Publication statusAccepted/In press - May 9 2015


  • Daily physical activity
  • Exercise fitness
  • Lactic threshold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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