Significant association between nutritional status and respiratory status

A close relationship between nutritional status and respiratory muscle function has been demonstrated by clinicians at Raymond Poincaré Hospital (Garches) in 117 adults with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Aged 18 to 39 years old, they all were on mechanical ventilation at home, in a wheelchair, and were not taking corticosteroids.

To get to this conclusion, the doctors studied nutritional parameters (body mass index (BMI), blood levels of albumin and transthyretin) and respiratory parameters (vital capacity, maximum inspiratory and expiratory pressures …). They report that: 

  • the average body mass index (BMI) is low: 15.6 kg / m2, 
  • the prevalence of undernutrition reaches 62%, that of swallowing disorders is 34% and that of gastrostomy is 11%,
  • severe respiratory failure and high respiratory morbidity exist,
  • a significant link exists between the nutritional parameters evaluated (BMI and albumin level in particular) and the strength of the respiratory muscles,
  • another significant link is found between swallowing disorders and respiratory events.

The authors conclude on the importance of multidisciplinary management of these patients and insist on regular assessment of their nutritional status. 


Nutritional status, swallowing disorders, and respiratory prognosis in adult Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients. A Fayssoil, C Chaffaut, HPrigent et al. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2021 (Mai).