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Exercise echocardiography assesses exercise-induced pulmonary hypertension. The upper normal limit of right ventricular systolic pressure during exercise is not well established. Our study aims to investigate the response of right ventricular systolic pressure in relation to aerobic capacity.
Methods and results
Cardiopulmonary exercise testing using a treadmill, and echocardiography during supine cycling, were performed in 113 healthy volunteers aged 13 to 25 years. Maximal right ventricular systolic pressure during evaluable exercise studies obtained in 108 subjects showed a Gaussian distribution only after separating the endurance trained subjects, specifically 12 athletes with Z-score of peak oxygen uptake higher than 2.0, from the normally trained group of 97 subjects. Maximal right ventricular systolic pressure during exercise in the normally trained group showed a mean of 38.0 millimetres of mercury, with standard deviation of 7.2, a median value of 39.0, and a range from 17 to 63, and the 95th percentile was 51 millimetres of mercury. In the athletes, the maximal right ventricular systolic pressure was higher, with a median of 55.5, a range from 28 to 69, this being significant, with p equal to 0.004). Of the 12 athletes, 8 (67%) showed a response of right ventricular systolic pressure to exercise exceeding 50 millimetres of mercury, but only 8 of 97 normally trained subjects (8%) showed a similar response, this also being significant, with p less than 0.001.
Our study confirms the great variability in the response of right ventricular systolic pressure to exercise in healthy individuals, with 50 millimetres of mercury representing the upper normal limit. Endurance-trained athletes show higher levels, and two-thirds have abnormal responses exceeding 50 millimetres of mercury.
In order to test the effect of systematic supervised physical training, we divided a total of 129 children and adolescents with congenital heart disease into a group undergoing intervention and a control group. All patients underwent exercise tests, measurements of physical activity, and a survey of psychosocial factors. An improvement in uptake of peak level of oxygen was observed after intervention. There was also an improvement in physical activity in both groups measured by a monitor, although this was significant only in those with intervention. The psychosocial scales measured by the Child Behavior Checklist showed a decrease in internalizing scores for those subjected to intervention. This was decreased due to decreased withdrawal and somatic complaints. In conclusion, we recommend systematic supervised training, including testing of routine follow-ups, in patients with congenital heart disease.
We treated prospectively 14 patients with Eisenmenger's syndrome, with a mean age of 10 years, ranging from 3 to 18 years. Treatment continued for 12 months, and demonstrated a lasting symptomatic improvement, but no improvement in terms of mean saturation of oxygen over 24 hours. Exercise capacity, as judged by peak uptake of oxygen, worsened in the six patients able to perform a treadmill test. The symptomatic benefit from dual blockage of endothelin receptors in these patients may be due to mechanisms other than selective pulmonary vasodilatation alone.
We report the results of follow-up of the complete cohort of Norwegian children born in the period from 1987 through 1998 in whom there was the intention to treat surgically hypoplasia of the left heart using the Norwood sequence of operations. Of the 54 children, 21 are alive. Of these, 15 have been extensively studied, while the medical state of all the remaining survivors is known from reports from other hospitals. Of the survivors, the majority have reasonably acceptable cardiac and haemodynamic function, but significant neurological and neuropsychological morbidity is identified within the group as a whole, which requires special attention from qualified personnel of various kinds.
Background: We investigated the aerobic capacity of 168 adult patients who had undergone successful surgical repair of tetralogy of Fallot at the University of Toronto Congenital Cardiac Centre for Adults. Methods: We compared values of peak uptake of oxygen, peak heart rate, forced vital capacity, and forced expiratory volume in 1 second to predicted values for their age groups. Results: The patients who had undergone surgical repair of tetralogy of Fallot demonstrated an overall diminished peak uptake of oxygen, at 51%, and peak heart rate, at 79%, compared to predicted values. No difference in peak aerobic capacity was found according to the initial surgical strategy of palliation or repair. Conclusions: Adult patients who have undergone surgical repair of tetralogy of Fallot have lower peak uptake of oxygen, and peak heart rate, compared to predicted values. The reduction in the peak heart rate may affect their exercise capacity. The peak uptake of oxygen also decreased with increasing age at the time of testing, and the age at surgical repair.
Most children with functionally univentricular hearts nowadays are treated surgically by creating a total cavopulmonary connection. In the resulting Fontan circulation, the venous return and the pulmonary arterial bed are coupled in series, bypassing the heart. This gives the potential for interaction between the abnormal circulation and function of the lungs. In this study, we investigated the pattern of impairment of pulmonary function, and its relation to decreased exercise capacity.
We performed spirometry in 33 (85 percent) of 39 eligible Norwegian children, aged from 8 to 16, with a total cavopulmonary connection, along with whole body plethysmography, the carbon monoxide single breath test, and a peak treadmill exercise test. The single breath test showed a mean corrected diffusing capacity of 66.5 percent of predicted, giving a z score of minus 2.88. The mean residual volume measured by whole body plethysmography was 146.8 percent, equivalent to a z score of 2.46, whereas the mean residual volume measured by the single breath test was 102.4 percent of predicted, this being the same as a z score of 0.43. The mean peak treadmill exercise test was 70.0 percent of predicted, equivalent with a z score of minus 3.07. Mean forced vital capacity was 85.7 percent of predicted, the equivalent z score being minus 0.92. Lung function correlated with the peak treadmill exercise test.
We have shown, therefore, that children with the Fontan circulation have reduced diffusing capacity, possibly caused by the abnormal circulation through the lungs. The difference between residual volume measured by plethysmography and the single breath test implies trapping of air. The correlation of parameters for lung function with peak consumption of oxygen during exercise indicates that the abnormalities of pulmonary function may affect physical capacity.
The objective of the study was to assess behavioural and emotional problems, as well as physical capacity, in children and adolescents with congenital cardiac disease. From the database of Paediatric Heart Section, Children's Clinic, Rikshospitalet University Hospital, Oslo, Norway, we identified 430 patients whose parents received questionnaires using the Child Behaviour Check-List. The response rate was 75.8%. In addition, the parents received a questionnaire focusing on special issues with regard to physical activity. Parents of children and adolescents with congenital cardiac diseases reported significantly more behavioural problems than did a reference population and boys were scored higher compared to girls. Analysis showed a significant impact of physical capacity on the score representing total problems, as well as scores for externalising and internalising behaviour. Compared to a reference population, parents of children and adolescents with congenital cardiac disease score their children higher on most scales when rated using the Child Behaviour Check-List. The type of diagnosis did not affect the scores reflecting the total problem. The main factor of impact on behavioural problems was, as evaluated by the parents, the physical capacity of the children.
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