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Effects of a supervised, outpatient exercise and physiotherapy programme in children with cystic fibrosis

  • Researchers

    Urquhart D, Sell Z, Dhouieb E, Bell G, Oliver S, Black R, Tallis M.

  • Place of research

    Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh, UK & Mater Children’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia

  • Publication

    Pediatric Pulmonology / May 2 2012

  • Subjects

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  • Does a 1-year long supervised, outpatient exercise and physiotherapy programme have any effect on intravenous (IV) antibiotic requirements, lung function, exercise capacity, and quality of life in children with CF?

  • Why is this important?

    A simple low-cost intervention (exercise) may have a beneficial effect on both the physical and psychological well-being of children with CF.

  • What did you do?

    Children aged above 10 years who had received more than 4 courses of IV antibiotics in 2009 were enrolled. They were seen fortnightly for supervised exercise and physiotherapy throughout 2010. In addition, they were expected to exercise three times weekly, to complete an exercise diary, and if unwell complete additional physiotherapy sessions extra to usual chest physiotherapy. Assessments of exercise capacity and quality of life were recorded at the beginning and after 1 year. Regular lung function was performed before and throughout the study.

  • What did you find?

    12 subjects (6 male, 6 female) were enrolled (average age of 13.3 years). During the study they spent an average of 3 hours per week exercising compared to 50 minutes in 2009. The need for IV antibiotics reduced from an average of 60 days in 2009 to 50 days during the study, along with improvements in exercise performance. Significant improvements in quality of life were also seen. On average, lung function was shown to decline in 2009, but a suggestion of improvement was seen in 2010.

  • What does this mean and reasons for caution?

    The exercise and physiotherapy programme appeared to be beneficial. The cost of IV antibiotics was reduced by £66,384 in 2010 compared with 2009. The small number of patients means that the results should be read with caution. It is uncertain if such an intervention is sustainable and whether these improvements would be maintained over periods longer than 1 year.

  • What's next?

    ACTIVATE-CF, a multicentre study of exercise in CF is due to start in 2013. This work is being co-ordinated by Professor Helge Hebestreit in Wurzburg, Germany but will include centres in the UK and Europe, as well as USA, Canada and Australia.