OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the physical function and fitness in survivors of childhood leukaemia 5-6 years after cessation of chemotherapy.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirteen children (six boys and seven girls; mean age 15.5 years) who were treated for leukaemia were studied 5-6 years after cessation of therapy. Physical function and fitness were determined by anthropometry, motor performance, muscle strength, anaerobic and aerobic exercise capacity.
RESULTS: On motor performance, seven of the 13 patients showed significant problems in the hand-eye co-ordination domain. Muscle strength only showed a significantly lower value in the mean strength of the knee extensors. The aerobic and the anaerobic capacity were both significantly reduced compared to reference values.
CONCLUSION: Even 5-6 years after cessation of childhood leukaemia treatment, there are still clear late effects on motor performance and physical fitness. Chemotherapy-induced neuropathy and muscle atrophies are probably the prominent cause for these reduced test results. Physical training might be indicated for patients surviving leukaemia to improve fitness levels and muscle strength.