Introduction: We investigated and compared the effects of 2 different types of upper extremity exercise training on upper extremity function, strength, endurance, and ambulation in patients with early-stage Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
Methods: The study group (n = 12) exercised with an arm ergometer under the supervision of a physiotherapist, whereas the control group (n = 12) underwent a strengthening range-of-motion (ROM) exercise program under the supervision of their families at home for 8 weeks. Upper extremity functional performance, strength, endurance, and ambulatory status were assessed before and after the training.
Results: Ambulation scores, endurance, and arm functions, as well as proximal muscle strength, were improved after the training in the study group (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: These results demonstrate that upper extremity training with an arm ergometer is more effective in preserving and improving the functional level of early-stage DMD patients compared to ROM exercises alone.
Keywords: Duchenne muscular dystrophy; endurance; exercise; function; upper extremity.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.