In study published in the August issue of Haemophilia, Australian researchers sought to determine how boys with hemophilia and von Willebrand disease (VWD) performed in fitness, strength and quality of life (QoL) tests compared to their unaffected peers.
The lead investigator of the study was Dr. Carolyn Broderick, School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales (NSW) in Sydney. Broderick is a staff specialist in Paediatric Sports Medicine, Children’s Hospital at Westmead and the director of sports medicine programs at NSW. She is also the team physician of the Australian Federation Cup Tennis Team and former team physician for the Australian Olympic Team.
In all, 44 boys between the ages of 6 and 17 years old participated in the study. 41 had hemophilia A or B--21 (48%) were classified severe, 11 were moderate (25%) and 9 were mild (20%). The remaining three boys had VWD. Thirty-one (70%) of the children were on prophylactic treatment regimens, while 13 (30%) received on-demand therapy. Measurements for body mass index (BMI) were also taken. The fitness test data were then compared with those of unaffected school children involved in the 2004 NSW Schools Fitness and Physical Activity Survey.
Aerobic capacity was measured using the Multistage Fitness Test in which the children completed a 20-minute shuttle run. Muscular strength was assessed by a basketball throw, with the child’s back to a wall. The children were also asked to complete the Haemo-QoL, a validated, disease-specific quality of life questionnaire. Children ages 4 through 12 were given the questionnaire by an interviewer; the 13- to 16-year-olds completed the questionnaire by themselves. Total Haemo-QoL scores were calculated for each age-group and were then measured against comparable data from four European countries.
The results indicated that there were no “statistically significant or clinically important” disparities in aerobic fitness or BMI between the boys with bleeding disorders and the unaffected children in any age category. In fact, boys with hemophilia ages 4, 6 and 10 years old demonstrated greater strength than their peers.
“Australian boys with bleeding disorders do not have impaired aerobic capacity or strength compared with their peers. Quality of life in Australian boys with haemophilia is comparable to their European counterparts,” concluded the authors.
The study, “Fitness and Quality of Life in Children with Haemophilia,” was published online August 26, 2009, in the journal Haemophilia.