Purpose To evaluate effects of an exercise program on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in children and adolescents with tetralogy of Fallot (ToF) or a Fontan circulation. Methods Stratified, randomized, controlled intervention study conducted in five participating centers of pediatric cardiology in The Netherlands. In total, 93 patients, aged 10-25 years, with surgical repair for tetralogy of Fallot or with a Fontan circulation for single-ventricle physiology were included. They were randomly allocated with a ratio of 2:1 to: (1) a 12-week period with an exercise program for 3 times per week or (2) to a control group. Randomization was stratified by age, gender, and cardiac diagnosis. At baseline and follow-up after 12 weeks, all participants completed Web-based age-appropriate HRQoL questionnaires. Primary analyses involved change in HRQoL during follow-up. Secondary analyses concerned influence of cardiac diagnosis and comparison with normative data. Results Forty-eight (86%) and 32 (86%) patients in the exercise-group and control-group respectively completed all questionnaires at baseline and follow-up. Compared with the control-group, children, aged 10-15 years, in the exercise-group improved significantly on self-reported cognitive functioning, p <.05, r =.30, and parent-reported social functioning, p <.05, r =.30. Youngsters aged 16-25 years did not change their HRQoL. Cardiac diagnosis had no influence on pre/post changes. Children and youngsters in this study reported comparable or better HRQoL than norm groups. Conclusions Participation in an exercise program improved HRQoL of children with ToF or a Fontan circulation, especially in those with low baseline QoL.

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doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.12.010, hdl.handle.net/1765/68739
Journal of Adolescent Health
Pediatric Psychiatry

Dulfer, K, Duppen, J.C, Kuipers, I.M, Schokking, M, van Domburg, R.T, Verhulst, F.C, … Utens, E.M.W.J. (2014). Aerobic exercise influences quality of life of children and youngsters with congenital heart disease: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Adolescent Health, 55(1), 65–72. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.12.010