Juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) is a rare, often chronic, systemic autoimmune disease of childhood, characterized by inflammation of the microvasculature of the skeletal muscle and skin. Prominent clinical features include significant exercise intolerance, muscle weakness, and fatigue. Despite pharmacological improvements, these clinical features continue to affect patients with JDM, even when the disease is in remission. Exercise training is increasingly utilized as a non-pharmacological intervention in the clinical management of (adult) patients with chronic inflammatory conditions; however no randomized controlled trials (RCT) have been performed in JDM. In the current study, the efficacy and feasibility of an exercise training program in patients with JDM will be examined.
Subjects (n=30) will include 8–18year olds diagnosed with JDM. The intervention consists of an individually tailored 12-weeks home-based exercise training program in which interval training on a treadmill is alternated with strength training during each session. The program is based on previous literature and designed with a defined frequency, intensity, time, and type of exercise (FITT principles). Primary outcome measures include aerobic exercise capacity, isometric muscle strength, and perception of fatigue. The study methodology has been conceived according to the standards of the CONSORT guidelines. The current study will be a multi-center (4 Dutch University Medical Centers) RCT, with the control group also entering the training arm directly after completion of the initial protocol. Randomization is stratified according to age and gender.
The current study will provide evidence on the efficacy and feasibility of an individually tailored 12-week home-based exercise training program in youth with JDM.
Medical Ethics Committee of the University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands: 11–336; Netherlands Trial Register (NTR): NTR 3184.
Keywords: Exercise, Children, Randomized controlled trial, Juvenile dermatomyositis