To examine the effectiveness of aquatic exercise training on fatigue and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in women with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Randomized controlled trial, 4-week and 8-week follow-up.
Referral center of a multiple sclerosis society.
Women (N=32) diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS (mean age ± SD, 32.6±8.0y) were recruited into this study. After undergoing baseline testing by a neurologist, participants were randomly assigned to either an intervention (aquatic exercise) or a control group.
The intervention consisted of 8 weeks supervised aquatic exercise in a swimming pool (3 times a week, each session lasting 60min).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
At baseline, 4 weeks, and 8 weeks, fatigue and HRQOL were assessed by a blind assessor using the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale and the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life-54 questionnaire, respectively. A mixed-model approach to repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to detect within- and between-subject effects.
Findings are based on 21 patients (10 from the exercise group and 11 from the control group) who had data available on outcomes. There was no significant difference between the 2 groups at the baseline. Patients in the aquatic exercise group showed significant improvements in fatigue and subscores of HRQOL after 4 and 8 weeks compared with the control group. Results obtained from the intention-to-treat analysis were consistent with those of per-protocol analysis.
The findings suggest that aquatic exercise training can effectively improve fatigueand HRQOL of patients with MS and should be considered in the management of this relatively common public health problem.