Objective: The benefit of long-term physical training in patients with chronic polymyositis or dermatomyositis (PM/DM) was studied prospectively.
Methods: Eight patients with chronic PM/DM participated in a training programme for 6 months. A group of five PM/DM patients without any physical training was observed for control purposes.
Results: While there was no significant change in serum creatine phosphokinase (CPK) levels, the 'activities of daily living (ADL)' score improved significantly (P < 0.03), peak isometric torque (PIT) generated by muscle groups in the lower extremities rose significantly (P < 0.03) and there was a statistically highly significant increase in peak oxygen uptake (VO2max) relative to body weight (P < 0.02) due to the long-term training. The patients improved their aerobic capacity by 28%, which is clinically significant. In the untrained patients, no improvement in these target parameters was observed.
Conclusion: In clinically stable DM/PM patients, long-term physical training can safely be performed and is recommended as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation management, particularly in view of the cardiopulmonary risk in these patients.