To examine the aerobic and anaerobic exercise capacity in adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) compared with age- and sex-matched healthy individuals, and to assess associations between disease-related variables and aerobic and anaerobic exercise capacity.
Of 25 patients enrolled in a JIA transition outpatient clinic, 22 patients with JIA were included in this study (mean ± SD age 17.1 ± 0.7 years, range 16–18 years). Aerobic capacity was examined using a Symptom Limited Bicycle Ergometry test. Anaerobic capacity was assessed with the Wingate Anaerobic Test. Functional ability was assessed with the Childhood Health Assessment Questionnaire. Pain and overall well-being were measured using a visual analog scale. Disease duration and disease activity were also assessed.
Absolute and relative maximal oxygen consumption in the JIA group were significantly impaired (85% and 83% for boys, respectively; 81% and 78% for girls, respectively) compared with healthy controls. Mean power was also significantly impaired (88% for boys and 74% for girls), whereas peak power was significantly impaired for girls and just failed significance for boys (67% for girls and 92% for boys). A post hoc analysis correcting for underweight and overweight demonstrated that body composition did not influence the results substantially.
This study demonstrated that adolescents with JIA have an impaired aerobic and anaerobic exercise capacity compared with healthy age- and sex-matched peers. The likely cause for this significant impairment is multifactorial and needs to be revealed to improve treatment strategies.