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  1. Professor Martin P Schwellnus
  1. University of Cape Town, South Africa

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    Arthritis patients show long-term benefits from 3 weeks intensive exercise training directly following hospital discharge

    ▸ Bulthuis Y, Drossaers-Bakker KW, Taal E, et al. Rheumatology 2007;46:1712–17.


    Exercise training has been advocated in the management of arthritis (rheumatoid and osteoarthritis) — the effects of a short-term intensive exercise programme on longer-term outcomes have not been well studied.

    Research question/s:

    What is the efficacy of short-term intensive exercise training (IET) in patients suffering from arthritis directly following hospital discharge?


    Subjects: 114 patients with disabling rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis who needed hospitalisation for either a flare-up in disease or elective hip or knee arthroplasty.

    Experimental procedure: Subjects were randomised into usual care (UC = 54) or 3 weeks intensive exercise rehabilitation in a resort setting immediately after discharge (EX group = 60). Outcomes were assessed before and after 3, 13, 26 and 52 weeks.

    Measures of outcome: Range of motion (Escola Paulista de Medicina-Range of Motion scale — EPM-ROM), disability (HAQ, McMaster Toronto Arthritis Patient Preference Disability Questionnaire — MACTAR), and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) (Research and Development 36-Item Health Survey (RAND-36)).

    Main finding/s:

    In general, subjects in the EX group had better and faster improvements in all outcome measures compared with the UC group (except for HRQoL).


    In a randomised controlled clinical trial, an intensive short-term (3 weeks) exercise training …

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