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Exercise Capacity In Children With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME): 1203 Board #58 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Takken, Tim; Henneken, Thamar N.; Van de Putte, Elise M.; Helders, Paul J.; Engelbert, Raoul H.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2005 - Volume 37 - Issue 5 - p S229
D-22: Free Communication/Poster – Clinical Exercise Testing: THURSDAY, JUNE 2, 2005 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM ROOM: Ryman C2

UMC Utrecht Department of Pediatric Physical Therapy & Exercise Physiology, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

(Sponsor: Prof Dr Yoga Coopoo, FACSM)


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME) is characterized by debilitating fatigue and affects physical and mental functioning. Several studies have been performed studying the exercise capacity of adults with CFS/ME. However no sties have been performed in children and adolescents with CFS/ME.

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To evaluate exercise capacity in children with chronic fatigue syndrome.

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We examined 17 consecutive patients (11 girls and 6 boys; mean age 14.9±3.46 years) diagnosed with CFS. Anthropometry and algometry was performed in all patients by the same pediatric physical therapist (RHE). Exercise capacity was measured using a graded exercise test on a bicycle ergometer to exhaustion and an expiratory gas analysis system. Muscle strength was assessed using a hand held dynamometer.

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Children with CFS reached low-normal exercise capacity (VO2peak (L/min), Z-score of −0.31±1.10 SD) and lower peak power (Z-score of −0.73±1.21 SD) compared to controls. BP and heart rate at peak exercise was significantly lower compared to controls. Muscle strength of children with CFS was not significantly different compared to controls. Children with CFS have a tendency for increased joint motion (Z-score of 0.43±1.33) compared with controls. Skin extensibility (Z-score of 1.69±1.13) and algometry of children with CFS were significantly increased compared to controls.

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VO2peak and Wmax were not significantly lower compared to controls. When exercise capacity was expressed in VO2peak/kg, children with CFS scored significantly lower, possibly caused by muscular atrophy and higher fat mass. Muscle strength was not significantly different in our patients compared to controls. Together with a normal VO2peak and low peak heart rate these findings indicate that the origin of fatigue is at a central level.

©2005The American College of Sports Medicine