Reduced Physical Activity Levels in Children after a First Episode of Acute Venous Thromboembolism

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Objective: To assess physical activity in children following acute venous thromboembolism (VTE), examine predictors of reduced physical activity and its relationship to post-thrombotic syndrome. Study design: Using a case-control study design, we enrolled 44 children with acute VTE, and compared physical activity using the Godin-Shephard Leisure-Time Physical Activity Questionnaire and health-related quality of life at 3 and 6 months after diagnosis relative to 44 age- and sex-matched controls. We assessed post-thrombotic syndrome scores using the Manco-Johnson Instrument to measure symptoms and signs attributed to sequelae of DVT in cases. Results: The physical activity of VTE cases was decreased at 3 months after diagnosis (36.6 ± 29.0 vs 56.8 ± 25.0; P = .002), but the differences disappeared at 6 months (57.5 ± 39.0 vs 56.8 ± 25.0; P = .60) relative to controls. At 3 and 6 months after diagnosis, overall, 70% and 50% of VTE cases were below their pre-VTE physical activity levels; providers did not address physical activity in the majority. In multivariable analysis, physical activity of cases was lower by 32 points for completely veno-occlusive thrombosis at diagnosis, 11 points for a diagnosis of pulmonary embolism relative to DVT, and increased by 0.72 points for every unit increase in health-related quality of life score. Physical activity at 3 months after diagnosis did not predict the short-term risk of post-thrombotic syndrome. Conclusions: VTE limits physical activity in children in the first 3 months after the acute event, but the differences were nonexistent at 6 months. Only 50 percent of VTE survivors resume their pre-VTE physical activity levels within 6 months after diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-235.e2
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • deep venous thrombosis
  • exercise
  • pulmonary embolism
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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