Age-Related Longitudinal Changes in Metabolic Energy Expenditure during Walking in Boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

J.C.E. Kempen, A.J. van der Kooi, I.J.M. de Groot, J.C. van den Bergen, J.J.G.M. Verschuuren, E.H. Niks, J. Harlaar, M.A. Brehm

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Abstract

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate age-related changes in metabolic walking energy expenditure in ambulant boys affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy over a follow-up period of 12 months. Methods: At baseline (T1) and 12 months later (T2), metabolic walking energy expenditure was assessed during a 6-minute walk test at comfortable speed in 14 ambulant boys with Duchenne (age range: 6.0-12.5 years, mean 8.2). Outcome measures derived from the assessment included the 6-minute comfortable walking distance (m) and net-nondimensional energy cost relative to speed-matched control cost (SMC-EC, %). Statistical comparisons were made using a two-way repeated measures ANOVA (factors: time (T1 versus T2) and age (<8 years of age (yoa) versus ≥8 yoa)). Results: Over the course of the study, a significant decrease of -28m (-8.2%, p=0.043) was noted in the walked distance at comfortable speed. Besides, SMC-EC increased with 4.4%, although this change was not significant (p=0.452). Regarding age groups, boys below 8 yoa showed a smaller annual decrease in the walked distance (-15 m) compared to boys above 8 yoa (-37 m). SMC-EC increased with 10% in the older boys, while in the younger boys it decreased (-2.1%). The main effect of age group on walking distance and SMC-EC however was not significant (p>0.158), and also there were no interaction effects (p>0.248). Conclusions: The results of our small study suggest that the natural course of walking performance in ambulant boys with Duchenne is characterized by a decrease in comfortable walking distance and an increase in walking energy cost. The rate of energy cost seems to increase with age, while walking distance decreases, which is opposite from the trend in typically developing children.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere115200
Pages (from-to)e115200
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume9
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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