Exercise response in children with and without juvenile rheumatoid arthritis: A case-comparison study

M. J. Giannini, E. J. Protas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


The primary purpose of the study was to compare the response to bicycle ergometer exercise in children with and without juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). Heart rate, exercise duration, highest work load completed, and peak oxygen consumption (peak V̇O2) were compared. A secondary purpose of the study was to determine the relationship between peak V̇O2 and articular disease severity. Thirty children with JRA and 30 controls matched for age, sex, and body surface area (BSA) were the subjects. Peak V̇O2 was determined by an open-circuit computerized gas analysis system. Peak V̇O2, highest work load completed, exercise duration, and peak heart rate were significantly lower among the children with JRA than their respective controls. Submaximal heart rate was significantly higher for the children with JRA. There was no difference in resting heart rate between the two groups. There was no relationship between peak V̇O2 and articular disease severity among the children with JRA. The results suggest that aerobic conditioning programs may be indicated soon after diagnosis for patients with JRA, regardless of the severity of their articular disease. One subject with JRA and 2 control subjects reported light-headedness and dizziness, and 1 subject with JRA complained of increased knee swelling. We recommend that physical therapists monitor patients for signs of exercise intolerance and joint symptoms during exercise training sessions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-372
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical therapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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