Children with burn injury have impaired cardiac output during submaximal exercise

Eric Rivas, David N. Herndon, Kenneth C. Beck, Oscar E. Suman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Introduction Burn trauma damages resting cardiac function; however, it is currently unknown if the cardiovascular response to exercise is likewise impaired. We tested the hypothesis that, in children, burn injury lowers cardiac output (Q) and stroke volume (SV) during submaximal exercise. Methods Five children with 49% ± 4% total body surface area (BSA) burned (two female, 11.7 ± 1 yr, 40.4 ± 18 kg, 141.1 ± 9 cm) and eight similar nonburned controls (five female, 12.5 ± 2 yr, 58.0 ± 17 kg, 147.3 ± 12 cm) with comparable exercise capacity (peak oxygen consumption [peak VO2]: 31.9 ± 11 vs 36.8 ± 8 mL O2·kg-1·min-1, P = 0.39) participated. The exercise protocol entailed a preexercise (pre-EX) rest period followed by 3-min exercise stages at 20 W and 50 W. VO2, HR, Q (via nonrebreathing), SV (Q/HR), and arteriovenous O2 difference ([a-v]O2diff, Q/ VO2) were the primary outcome variables. Results Using a 2-way factorial ANOVA (group [G] × exercise [EX]), we found that Q was approximately 27% lower in the burned than the nonburned group at 20 W of exercise (burned 5.7 ± 1.0 vs nonburned: 7.9 ± 1.8 L·min-1) and 50 W of exercise (burned 6.9 ± 1.6 vs nonburned 9.2 ± 3.2 L·min-1) (G-EX interaction, P = 0.012). SV did not change from rest to exercise in burned children but increased by approximately 24% in the nonburned group (main effect for EX, P = 0.046). Neither [a-v] O2diff nor VO2 differed between groups at rest or exercise, but HR response to exercise was reduced in the burn group (G-EX interaction, P = 0.004). When normalized to BSA, SV (index) was similar between groups; however, Q (index) remained attenuated in the burned group (G-EX interaction, P < 0.008). Conclusions Burned children have an attenuated cardiovascular response to submaximal exercise. Further investigation of hemodynamic function during exercise will provide insights important for cardiovascular rehabilitation in burned children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1993-2000
Number of pages8
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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