Objective: To elucidate the effects of physical exercise in severely fatigued patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, and to clarify the mutual relationships between 5 domains studied in these patients: physical fitness, fatigue, objectively measured actual mobility, perceived physical functioning, and perceived mental functioning.
Design: Case series.
Subjects/patients: Twenty patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy.
Methods: The patients undertook a 12-week physical exercise program. Relationships between domains were studied in the change scores, and additionally in the baseline data of patients. The percentage of significant relationships between each pair of domains was determined.
Results: In the change scores, a small percentage of significant relationships was found between the physical fitness domain and the other 4 domains (2/30, 7%). A higher percentage of significant relationships was found between the domains perceived mental functioning and actual mobility (44%), perceived mental functioning and perceived physical functioning (44%), and between fatigue and perceived physical functioning (33%). Generally, similar patterns were found in the baseline data.
Conclusion: Changes in fatigue, actual mobility and perceived functioning seem not to be influenced by changes in physical fitness. This study stresses the presence and importance of additional effects of a physical training program, not directly related to increasing fitness.