Postoperative exercise training develops normal levels of physical activity in a group of children following cardiac surgery

Pediatr Cardiol. 1990 Jul;11(3):126-30. doi: 10.1007/BF02238841.


Children with congenital heart defects often demonstrate a reduced capacity for exercise, even after surgical intervention. Forty subjects, with various heart defects, completed a 5-year study to evaluate the impact of a postoperative training program on their physical exercise capacity. All of the patients were significantly less active than their peers prior to the surgical intervention. Subjects who completed a simple, home exercise program during the first 3 postoperative months achieved a normal level of physical fitness. These benefits were maintained up to 5-years postoperatively without further intervention. Children who did not receive a postoperative training program remained significantly below their healthy peers. Therefore, a simple exercise training program, conducted early in the postoperative period would appear essential to the achievement of appropriate levels of physical activity for children with congenital heart defects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance
  • Physical Fitness
  • Postoperative Complications / rehabilitation*