Effects of different duration exercise programs in children with severe burns

Robert P. Clayton, Paul Wurzer, Clark R. Andersen, Ronald P. Mlcak, David N. Herndon, Oscar E. Suman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Introduction Burns lead to persistent and detrimental muscle breakdown and weakness. Standard treatment at our institution includes a voluntary 12-week rehabilitative exercise program to limit and reverse the effects of increased muscle catabolism. In the present work, we investigated if different durations of exercise, 6 or 12 weeks, produce comparable improvements in muscle strength, body composition, and cardiopulmonary fitness. Methods We prospectively enrolled and randomized patients with ≥30% total body surface area (TBSA) burned to receive 6 or 12 weeks of exercise rehabilitation. Patients were evaluated for muscle strength, oxygen consumption capacity, and lean body mass at discharge (n = 42) and after exercise. After 6 weeks (n = 18) or 12 weeks (n = 24) of exercise training, leg muscle strength was assessed as peak torque per body weight using a Biodex isokinetic dynamometer. Oxygen consumption capacity, measured as peak VO2, was studied using a standard treadmill-based test, and lean body mass was determined using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Results Significant improvements in muscle strength, peak VO2, and lean body mass were seen after 6 weeks of exercise training (p < 0.001), with only significant improvements in peak VO2 being seen after 6 weeks more of training. Conclusion These data suggest that a 6-week rehabilitative exercise program is sufficient for improving muscle strength, body composition, and cardiopulmonary fitness in pediatric burn patients. However, continuation of at- or near-home cardiopulmonary training following the 6 weeks of at-hospital rehabilitation may be useful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)796-803
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • Burns
  • Children
  • Rehabilitation
  • Resistance exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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