Background Peripheral muscle strength and endurance are decreased in patients with chronic pulmonary diseases and seem to contribute to patients' exercise intolerance. However, the authors are not aware of any studies evaluating peripheral muscle function in children with asthma. It seems to be implied that children with asthma have lower aerobic fitness, but there are limited studies comparing the aerobic capacity of children with and without asthma. The present study aimed to evaluate muscle strength and endurance in children with persistent asthma and their association with aerobic capacity and inhaled corticosteroid consumption.
Methods Forty children with mild persistent asthma (MPA) or severe persistent asthma (SPA) (N=20 each) and 20 children without asthma (control group) were evaluated. Upper (pectoralis and latissimus dorsi) and lower (quadriceps) muscle strength and endurance were assessed, and cardiopulmonary exercise testing was performed. Inhaled corticosteroid consumption during the last 6 and 24 months was also quantified.
Results Children with SPA presented a reduction in peak oxygen consumption (VO2) (28.2±8.1 vs 34.7±6.9 ml/kg/min; p<0.01) and quadriceps endurance (43.1±6.7 vs 80.9±11.9 repetitions; p<0.05) compared with the control group, but not the MPA group (31.5±6.1 ml/kg/min and 56.7±47.7 repetitions respectively; p>0.05). Maximal upper and lower muscle strength was preserved in children with both mild and severe asthma (p>0.05). Finally, the authors observed that lower muscle endurance weakness was not associated with reductions in either peak VO2 (r=0.22, p>0.05) or corticosteroid consumption (r=−0.31, p>0.05) in children with asthma.
Conclusion The findings suggest that cardiopulmonary exercise and lower limb muscle endurance should be a priority during physical training programs for children with severe asthma.
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Competing interests None.
Patient consent Obtained.
Ethic approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Hospital of University of São Paulo Ethics Committee (protocol 099/06).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.