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Post-chemotherapy physical fitness level on children with diagnosis of leukemia: results of a pilot study

  • Authors: Patti, A.; Di Trapani, S.; Guadagna, P.; Maggio, M.; Corsello, G.; D’Angelo, P.; Caramazza, G.; Bianco, A.; Palma, A.
  • Publication year: 2012
  • Type: Proceedings (TIPOLOGIA NON ATTIVA)
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Introduction: Children with diagnosis of leukemia are at risk for developing neuromuscular and musculoskeletal complications such as decreased muscle strength, impaired gross and fine motor performance, decreased energy expenditure, osteonecrosis, and osteoporosis. These secondary complications due to the medical interventions may lead to activity limitations and participation restrictions in daily life experiences. However, few Authors suggest that if children participate in an individualized physical therapy exercise program, these limitations may be prevented or at least reduced. We evaluated the level of physical fitness on children with diagnosis of leukemia (C-LK) during the post-chemotherapy period. Subjects and methods: Nine (8,3±2,7 yrs) C-LK of both sex participated to the study with the consents of their parents. We also recruited a group of thirty-two healthy children of both sex with similar age (8,12±1,56 yrs) as control group (GC). In order to assess the fitness level of the experimental sample we used few fitness tests already validated by scientific papers. Standing broad jump, 4 x 10 m shuttle run test, sit up test and handgrip strength test were administered three times in a period of two weeks during the period of May 2012. Exclusion criteria for C-LK were at least six months of therapy stopped and for CG no regularly physical activity participation. The scores coming from the best performances were used for statistical purpose. Results: Preliminary results shown no differences in standing broad jump performances. C-LK reported a mean value of 112,55±32,80 cm, while CG reported 124,18±22,19 cm, p = 0.11. An interesting findings is coming from 4 x 10 m shuttle run test. The C-LK group performed the test in a mean value of 16.27±0.83 seconds, while the control performed the same test in 14.02±0.25 seconds, p = 0.001. No differences between groups were found when comparing sit-up performances (0.25) and handgrip performances (0.08 left arm and 0.15 right arm), respectively. Conclusions: The level of physical fitness of C-LK group seems to be in line with control group results. These preliminary data are confirming the eligibility of C-LK to start with specific exercise programs in order to reduce cardiovascular and muscular complications and improve quality of life. The only concern is about the agility test (4 x 10 SRT) who shown a very high significant differences, 2 seconds in 40 mt sprint. To date, the sample size is not adequate to make conclusions. More data coming from C-LK groups are necessary to better understand this topic.