September 1992

Anaerobic Endurance and Peak Muscle Power in Children With Spastic Cerebral Palsy

Author Affiliations

From the Children's Exercise and Nutrition Centre, McMaster University and Chedoke Hospital Division, Hamilton, Ontario. Dr Parker is now with the School of Biological & Molecular Sciences, Oxford (England) Polytechnic.

Am J Dis Child. 1992;146(9):1069-1073. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160210071024

• The aim of this study was to provide information on anaerobic muscle endurance (mean power) and peak muscle power in children with spastic cerebral palsy. We measured peak power and mean power of the upper and lower limbs in 29 boys and 20 girls, aged from 6 to 14 years, by means of the Wingate Anaerobic Test. In addition, the physical components (physical capacity, upper limb, and lower limb) of a system used for evaluating function in the physically disabled were assessed. Of the 49 subjects, 46 and 37 successfully completed the arm and leg Wingate Anaerobic Test, respectively. Compared with norms for age and gender (healthy, nonathletic children), peak and mean power in the patients, even when corrected for body weight, were distinctly subnormal. The performance of subjects with quadriplegia was 3 to 4 SDs below the mean for controls. Twenty-five of diplegic and hemiplegic subjects had values below 2 SDs. When the data were analyzed according to the severity of the cerebral palsy, with the use of the physical capacity, upper limb, and lower limb score, those children with moderate to severe cerebral palsy had values for mean and peak power of the arm and leg 3 to 4 SDs below the normal mean. Values for children with only mild cerebral palsy also fell below the mean, but the data were more scattered, especially for the leg. The lower muscle performance may reflect both quantitative and qualitative differences in the upper- and lower-limb muscles, due to altered innervation and, in the more severely affected children, disuse.

(AJDC. 1992;146:1069-1073)