EXERCISE TOLERANCE, PULMONARY FUNCTION, RESPIRATORY MUSCLE STRENGTH, AND QUALITY OF LIFE IN CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS WITH RHEUMATIC HEART DISEASE
ABSTRACT Objective: Despite the high prevalence of rheumatic heart disease in Brazil, the occurrence of functional impairment in children and adolescents with rheumatic heart disease is not clear. The aim of this study was to evaluate exercise tolerance, respiratory muscle strength, lung function, and quality of life of children and adolescents with rheumatic heart disease. Methods: Cross-sectional study, conducted from August to December 2014 with children and adolescents with rheumatic heart disease aged 8 to 16 years. The participants, after completing the socioeconomic, clinical, and quality of life questionnaires were tested by spirometry, manovacuometry and in a 6-minute walk test. The variables and their reference values were compared using the paired Student’s t-test. Comparisons between predicted and observed walking distance were done also by Student’s t-test, consdiering the categorization of the participants. Correlations between these differences and quantitative variables were assessed by Pearson’s coefficient, being significant p<0.05. Results: All 56 participants had a walked distance lower than predicted (p<0.001). The differences between predicted and observed distances were positively correlated with the baseline heart rate (r=0.3545; p=0.007). Expiratory muscle strength was also lower than the predicted values (p<0,001). Regarding quality of life assessment, the mean scores were 70, 77 and 67% for general, physical, and psychosocial aspects, respectively. Conclusions: Children and adolescents with rheumatic heart disease have reduced exercise tolerance, which is related to their higher baseline heart rate; they also show impaired expiratory strength and quality of life.