Effects of community-based exercise in children with severe burns: A randomized trial

Raquel Peña, Leybi L. Ramirez, Craig G. Crandall, Steven E. Wolf, David N. Herndon, Oscar E. Suman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective To counteract long-lasting muscle break down, muscle weakness, and poor physical fitness resulting from severe burns, we recommend a 12-week in-hospital exercise training rehabilitation program. Unfortunately, this in-hospital training program requires time away from home, family, school or work. This study was undertaken to evaluate an alternative exercise rehabilitation strategy involving a 12-week community-based exercise training rehabilitation program (COMBEX) carried out at or near the patient and caretaker's home. Study design and participants Pediatric patients (7-18 years) with ≥30% of total body surface area (TBSA) burns were randomized to participate in COMBEX (N = 12) or an outpatient exercise program (EX) at the hospital (N = 22). Both programs were started after hospital discharge and consisted of 12 weeks of progressive resistive and aerobic exercise. COMBEX was performed in community fitness centers near the patients' home. Endpoints were assessed at discharge (pre-exercise) and after the 12-week program. Primary endpoints were lean body mass (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry), muscle strength (isokinetic dynamometry), and peak aerobic capacity (indirect calorimetry). Results Demographics, length of hospitalization, and TBSA burned were comparable between groups (P > 0.05). Both groups exhibited a significant (P ≤ 0.01 for all) increase (mean ± SEM) in lean muscle mass (EX: 6.9 ± 1.7%; COMBEX: 6.5 ± 1.1%), muscle strength (EX: 67.1 ± 7.0%; COMBEX: 49.9 ± 6.8%), and peak aerobic capacity (EX: 35.5 ± 4.0%; COMBEX: 46.9 ± 7.7%). Furthermore, the magnitude of these increases were not different between groups (P > 0.12). Conclusions Both EX and COMBEX are efficacious in improving lean mass, strength, and cardiopulmonary capacity in severely burned children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-47
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • Community-based exercise program
  • Exercise program
  • Lean body mass
  • Muscle strength
  • Peak aerobic capacity
  • Rehabilitation
  • Standard of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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