Physical fitness in children with Marfan and Loeys-Dietz syndrome: associations between cardiovascular parameters, systemic manifestations, fatigue, and pain

Jessica Warnink-Kavelaars, Lisanne E de Koning, Annelies E van der Hulst, Annemieke I Buizer, Nicole Poissonnier, Laura E Wijninga, Leonie A Menke, Laura Muiño Mosquera, Lies Rombaut, Raoul H H Engelbert

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Children with Marfan (MFS) and Loeys-Dietz syndrome (LDS) report limitations in physical activities, sports, school, leisure, and work participation in daily life. This observational, cross-sectional, multicenter study explores associations between physical fitness and cardiovascular parameters, systemic manifestations, fatigue, and pain in children with MFS and LDS. Forty-two participants, aged 6–18 years (mean (SD) 11.5(3.7)), diagnosed with MFS (n = 36) or LDS (n = 6), were enrolled. Physical fitness was evaluated using the Fitkids Treadmill Test’s time to exhaustion (TTE) outcome measure. Cardiovascular parameters (e.g., echocardiographic parameters, aortic surgery, cardiovascular medication) and systemic manifestations (systemic score of the revised Ghent criteria) were collected. Pain was obtained by visual analog scale. Fatigue was evaluated by PROMIS® Fatigue-10a-Pediatric-v2.0-short-form and PROMIS® Fatigue-10a-Parent-Proxy-v2.0-short-form. Multivariate linear regression analyses explored associations between physical fitness (dependent variable) and independent variables that emerged from the univariate linear regression analyses (criterion p <.05). The total group (MFS and LDS) and the MFS subgroup scored below norms on physical fitness TTE Z-score (mean (SD) −3.1 (2.9); −3.0 (3.0), respectively). Univariate analyses showed associations between TTE Z-score aortic surgery, fatigue, and pain (criterion p <.05). Multivariate analyses showed an association between physical fitness and pediatric self-reported fatigue that explained 48%; 49%, respectively, of TTE Z-score variance (F (1,18) = 18.6, p ≤.001, r2 =.48; F (1,15) = 16,3, p =.01, r2 =.49, respectively). Conclusions: Physical fitness is low in children with MFS or LDS and associated with self-reported fatigue. Our findings emphasize the potential of standardized and tailored exercise programs to improve physical fitness and reduce fatigue, ultimately enhancing the physical activity and sports, school, leisure, and work participation of children with MFS and LDS. (Table presented.)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2421-2429
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean journal of pediatrics
Issue number5
Early online date11 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Child
  • Fatigue
  • Loeys-Dietz syndrome
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Physical fitness

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