Background and Aims
Fatigue significantly impacts the quality of life of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This study aimed to assess the effect of a personalized, intensive exercise program on fatigue, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and cardiorespiratory fitness in patients with quiescent IBD and severe fatigue.
A pilot study was performed including IBD patients in remission with severe fatigue. The 12-week exercise program consisted of three times per week 1-h sessions, including aerobic- and progressive-resistance training at personalized intensity based on a cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) and one-repetition maximum. CPET was repeated after 12 weeks. Fatigue and HRQoL were assessed using the checklist individual strength and 32-item IBD questionnaire.
Twenty-five IBD patients with mean age of 45 (± 2.6) years were included of which 22 (88%) completed the exercise program. Fatigue significantly improved from 105 (± 17) points on the checklist individual strength before, to 66 (± 20) after completion of exercise program (p < 0.001). Patients’ HRQoL significantly improved from 156 (± 21) to 176 (± 19) (p < 0.001). When looking at the subdomains of HRQoL, significant improvement was seen in emotional (58 ± 12 vs. 69 ± 9.1, p = 0.003), systemic (19 ± 3.9 vs. 24 ± 4.7, p < 0.001), and social function (25 ± 5.4 vs. 30 ± 3.9, p < 0.001). Bowel symptoms did not change (53 ± 7.7 vs. 55 ± 7.3, p = 0.208). Repeat CPET showed a significant improvement in maximum power patients were able to deliver (2.4 ± 0.5 vs. 2.7 ± 0.5 W/kg, p = 0.002).
A personalized, intensive exercise program can lead to significant improvement of fatigue, HRQoL, and cardiorespiratory fitness in patients with quiescent IBD and severe fatigue.
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Checklist individual strength
Checklist individual strength–fatigue
Cardiopulmonary exercise test
Inflammatory bowel diseases
Inflammatory bowel disease questionnaire
Inflammatory bowel disease unclassified
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The authors thank the participating patients for their great effort and enthusiasm during their performance in this study.
This work was supported by “Rijnstate Vriendenfonds.”
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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van Erp, L.W., Roosenboom, B., Komdeur, P. et al. Improvement of Fatigue and Quality of Life in Patients with Quiescent Inflammatory Bowel Disease Following a Personalized Exercise Program. Dig Dis Sci 66, 597–604 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10620-020-06222-5
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Quality of life