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Aquatic therapy for boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD): an external pilot randomised controlled trial

Hind, D; Parkin, J; Whitworth, V; Rex, S; Young, T; Hampson, L; Sheehan, J; ... Baxter, P; + view all (2017) Aquatic therapy for boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD): an external pilot randomised controlled trial. Pilot and Feasibility Studies , 3 , Article 16. 10.1186/s40814-017-0132-0. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Standard treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) includes regular physiotherapy. There are no data to show whether adding aquatic therapy (AT) to land-based exercises helps maintain motor function. We assessed the feasibility of recruiting and collecting data from boys with DMD in a parallel-group pilot randomised trial (primary objective), also assessing how intervention and trial procedures work. METHODS: Ambulant boys with DMD aged 7-16 years established on steroids, with North Star Ambulatory Assessment (NSAA) score ≥8, who were able to complete a 10-m walk test without aids or assistance, were randomly allocated (1:1) to 6 months of either optimised land-based exercises 4 to 6 days/week, defined by local community physiotherapists, or the same 4 days/week plus AT 2 days/week. Those unable to commit to a programme, with >20% variation between NSAA scores 4 weeks apart, or contraindications to AT were excluded. The main outcome measures included feasibility of recruiting 40 participants in 6 months from six UK centres, clinical outcomes including NSAA, independent assessment of treatment optimisation, participant/therapist views on acceptability of intervention and research protocols, value of information (VoI) analysis and cost-impact analysis. RESULTS: Over 6 months, 348 boys were screened: most lived too far from centres or were enrolled in other trials; 12 (30% of the targets) were randomised to AT (n = 8) or control (n = 4). The mean change in NSAA at 6 months was -5.5 (SD 7.8) in the control arm and -2.8 (SD 4.1) in the AT arm. Harms included fatigue in two boys, pain in one. Physiotherapists and parents valued AT but believed it should be delivered in community settings. Randomisation was unattractive to families, who had already decided that AT was useful and who often preferred to enrol in drug studies. The AT prescription was considered to be optimised for three boys, with other boys given programmes that were too extensive and insufficiently focused. Recruitment was insufficient for VoI analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Neither a UK-based RCT of AT nor a twice weekly AT therapy delivered at tertiary centres is feasible. Our study will help in the optimisation of AT service provision and the design of future research. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN41002956.

Type: Article
Title: Aquatic therapy for boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD): an external pilot randomised controlled trial
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s40814-017-0132-0
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40814-017-0132-0
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Keywords: Aquatic therapy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Feasibility study, Hydrotherapy, Physical therapy, Pilot study
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > ICH Developmental Neurosciences Prog
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1550024
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