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Arch Dis Child. 2006 Jan;91(1):47-51. Epub 2005 Sep 27.

Exercise capacity in apparently healthy survivors of cancer.

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  • 1Department of Cardiology, Giannina Gaslini Children's Hospital, Genoa, Italy.

Abstract

AIMS:

To evaluate cardiopulmonary exercise tolerance in a large cohort of apparently healthy paediatric cancer survivors in order to determine their participation in sporting activities.

METHODS:

A total of 84 young (<21 years) asymptomatic childhood cancer survivors, who had been exposed to anthracyclines (mean dose 212 mg/m2) and/or chest irradiation (median dose 2000 cGy), with normal left ventricular systolic function at rest (fractional shortening >29%), and 79 healthy controls were studied. Exercise testing was performed on a treadmill ergometer. Gas exchange analysis and derived variables were measured on a breath-by-breath basis. Pulmonary functional evaluation was performed before exercise. Echocardiographic evaluation at rest was performed within one month before the exercise test.

RESULTS:

There were no differences in exercise responses between patients and controls. In boys <13 years, mean VO2 max was slightly but significantly lower than in controls. This finding was thought to be a result of decreased physical fitness as all the other exercise parameters were similar to those in the controls.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results show that apparently healthy survivors of paediatric cancer can take part in dynamic sporting activities if they exhibit a normal response to cardiopulmonary exercise testing, while those that exhibit a reduced VO2 max should be re-evaluated after an aerobic training programme, and should undergo tailored dynamic physical activity if the VO2 max does not normalise.

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