Research Study Abstract

Reduced Postoperative Physical Activity of Children with Congenital Heart Diseases

  • Added on July 7, 2012

Background Children with congenital heart disease (CHD) have a reduced exercise capacity. Studies suggest that prolonged hospitalization might contribute to deconditioning in exercise capacity. This study examined the postoperative physical activity among children with CHD after a hospital stay.

Methods 34 children and adolescents with CHD (21 girls, 8.0 years [IQ: 6.0-11.0 years]) after open heart surgery or catheter intervention were included into the study. Directly after being discharged from hospital their physical activity was assessed with a GT3X accelerometer over the next consecutive 7 days.

Results Physical activity was reduced to 58.5 minutes (IQ: 35-123 minutes) of at least moderate activity per day. Only the half of the examined children meet the actual guidelines of one hour of moderate to vigorous activity a day. There were no gender specific differences (p=0.362). There are differences between the various degrees of severity of congenital heart defects, but not significant (p=0.784)

Conclusion Children with CHD have a reduced physical activity after hospital discharge. Outpatient rehabilitation programs to increase physical activity should be aspired after hospital stay to prevent further deconditioning.