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Cardiorespiratory Response During Physical Therapist Intervention for Infants and Young Children With Chronic Respiratory Insufficiency

Dumas, Helene M. PT, MS; Fragala-Pinkham, Maria A. PT, DPT, MS; Rosen, Elaine L. PT, MPA/H; Klar, Diana PT, DPT; Lombard, Kelly PT, DPT; Smith, Hilary PT, DPT; Shewokis, Patricia A. PhD; O'Neil, Margaret E. PT, PhD, MPH

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31828812d6
Research Article

Purpose: To document physical therapist intervention activities and cardiorespiratory response for young children with chronic respiratory insufficiency.

Methods: Twelve children born prematurely, 6 to 30 months chronological age and admitted to inpatient pulmonary rehabilitation for oxygen and/or ventilation weaning, were included. During 3 intervention sessions, a second physical therapist recorded intervention activity and heart rate (HR), oxygen saturation (SaO2), and respiratory rate. Total time and median HR, SaO2, and respiratory rate for each activity were calculated. An analysis of variance was used to compare HR and SaO2 across activity based on intersession reliability.

Results: Sitting activities were most frequent and prone least frequent. Median cardiorespiratory measures were within reference standards for age. No adverse effects were seen during intervention and no significant difference was found in HR and SaO2 among intervention activities.

Conclusion: Young children with chronic respiratory insufficiency are able to tolerate intervention with close monitoring by the physical therapist.

Young children with chronic respiratory insufficiency who were born premature are able to tolerate interventions focusing on developmental activities given close monitoring by the physical therapist.

Research Center for Children with Special Health Care Needs (Ms Dumas and Dr Fragala-Pinkham) and Department of Physical Therapy (Ms Rosen and Drs Fragala-Pinkham, Klar, Lombard, and Smith), Franciscan Hospital for Children, Boston, Massachusetts; College of Nursing and Health Professions (Drs Shewokis and O'Neil) and School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems (Dr Shewokis), Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Correspondence: Helene M. Dumas, PT, MS, Research Center, Franciscan Hospital for Children, 30 Warren Street, Brighton, MA 02135 (

Grants Support: Funding for this project was provided by The Perkin Fund, Boston, Massachusetts.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.