Cardiopulmonary performances in young children and adolescents born with large abdominal wall defects

A. Zaccara, B. D. Iacobelli, A. Calzolari, A. Turchetta, C. Orazi, P. Schingo, Pierro Bagolan, A. Coran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/Purpose: As long as the survival rate of patients with abdominal wall defects (AWD) increases, information about long-term follow-up is becoming necessary. Even though quality of life in these patients, in absence of associated anomalies, appears to be unaffected, respiratory impairment soon after birth has been documented; therefore, participation in sports rarely is addressed. Methods: Eighteen patients, ranging in age from 7 to 18 years, operated on at birth for large abdominal wall defects (> 4 cm for gastroschisis; >6 cm for omphalocele) were asked to come for a stress test on a treadmill, with measurements of time of exercise (TE), maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) and continuous recording of vital parameters. Respiratory function also was assessed by Forced Vital Capacity (FVC). Results: Ergometric data were compared with those of a normal pediatric population. All patients were able to perform the stress test with no cardiovascular abnormalities detected at rest or on exertion. Maximum heart rate was reached after a significantly shorter TE, and VO2 max was significantly reduced when comparing normal subjects with AWD subjects and AWD subjects in sports with those sedentary. FVC was only slightly reduced in AWD patients without reaching statistical significance. Conclusions: These findings indicate that patients operated on for AWD at birth exhibit a normal cardiorespiratory function; decreased TE and VO2 max are likely to reflect a lack of physical activity with a lower degree of fitness. Therefore, no limitations to motor performances should exist for these patients. Well-being may be greatly improved by regular exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-481
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2003


  • Abdominal wall defects
  • Long-term follow-up
  • Sports practicing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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