Anthropometry in Special and Selective Conditions and Circumstances: Anthropometry as Measure of Risk in COPD Patients

  • Ernesto Crisafulli
  • Stefania Costi
  • Enrico M. Clini


In the last decade, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) has been redefined and newly approached not only as an airway-disease condition, but as a multi-component disease including extra-pulmonary manifestations, such as peripheral muscle weakness and malnutrition. The evaluation of body composition (as a part of nutritional assessment) fairly integrates the simple body mass index (BMI) measure by measuring the individual’s active metabolism (fat free mass, FFM). Indeed, BMI and FFM are both parameters correlated with many COPD-strong outcomes. In several epidemiological studies of COPD population admitted to both in- or outpatient rehabilitation programmes, the estimated prevalence of weight loss ranges from 17% to 53%. Nonetheless, weight reduction, together with FFM depletion, is a common feature in emphysema as well as in chronic bronchitis. A nutritionally depleted patient is usually defined by a BMI of ≤ 20 kg/m2. Several studies aimed at evaluating the prognostic value of BMI in COPD patients have documented that BMI ≤ 25 kg/m2 and weight reduction of >3 kg/m2 are strong predictors of mortality. Moreover, other studies confirmed that FFM and measurement of the cross-sectional area of muscle mass (mid-thigh and mid-arm) also correlate to survival rates. In future research, studies looking at other anthropometric, metabolic and functional factors able to predict the long-term survival should be welcomed in patients with other diseases, such as pulmonary fibrosis, similarly leading to chronic respiratory failure.


Body Mass Index Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patient Severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Population 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Arm muscle area


Body cell mass


Bioelectrical impedance analysis


Body mass index


Body mass index (B), obstruction (O), dyspnea (D) and exercise endurance (E)


Copenhagen City Heart Study


Confidence interval


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease


Extracellular water


Forced Expiratory Volume in the first second


Fat free mass


FFM index


Fat mass


Hazard ratio


Health related quality of life


Ideal body weight


Intracellular water


Long term oxygen therapy


Lung volume reduction surgery


Mid-arm circumference


Mid-arm muscle circumference


National Emphysema Therapy Trial


Arterial Carboxide Pressure


Oxygen Arterial Pressure


Maximal Expiratory Mouth Pressure


Relative risk


Total Body water


Triceps skinfold thickness

VO2 %/Kg

Percentage of oxygen consumption for kilogram


Conflict of Interest Declaration

All the authors declare to have no actual and potential conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernesto Crisafulli
  • Stefania Costi
  • Enrico M. Clini
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Pulmonary Rehabilitation UnitUniversity of Modena and Ospedale Villa PinetaPavulloItaly
  2. 2.Department of Oncology, Haematology and PneumologyUniversity of ModenaModenaItaly

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