To assess respiratory function and functional capacity in children with pectus excavatum who followed a physical therapy program, to compare these parameters to healthy controls and to evaluate adherence of this category of patients (pectus excavatum without surgical indications) to a supervised exercise program.
This study included 14 children with pectus excavatum and 14 gender and age-matched healthy controls. The study patients performed a 12-week exercise program. They were assessed at the beginning and at the end of rehabilitation by spirometry and functional capacity testing (6-min walk test). Parents of children with pectus excavatum completed a 10-item adherence questionnaire.
In the study patients all respiratory parameters increased after rehabilitation. After 12 weeks there were no differences between study patients and controls, except for functional capacity that still had lower values in children with pectus excavatum. The parents of all patients agreed about fitting of the training program with their child’s daily routine, low difficulty of the exercises, the child following the physiotherapist’s instructions and confidence in the results of rehabilitation.
In children with pectus excavatum without surgical indications, forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 s and functional capacity assessed by the 6‑min walk test improved significantly after a 12-week supervised exercise program. The study showed that adherence to the exercise-based program was good for all patients.