Background: Rehabilitation camps can improve exercise tolerance and nutrition in cystic fibrosis patients.
Objectives: To assess weight gain, pulmonary function tests and daily symptoms in European CF patients attending a rehabilitation camp at the Dead Sea, Israel.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective study assessing 94 CF patients who participated in winter camps held at the Dead Sea, Israel from 1997 to 2000. The camp program included daily physiotherapy, physical activities, and a high caloric diet. We assessed weight gain, pulmonary function tests, oxyhemoglobin saturation and daily symptoms before (pre), on departure (dep), and up to 3 months after the 3 week rehabilitation camp post). All data were analyzed by ANOVA for repetitive measurements. P < 0.05 was considered significant.
Results: Lung function tests and oxyhemoglobin saturation taken before, on departure and 3 months after camp were available for 35 patients. Forced expiratory volume in the first second (% predicted, average ± SD) improved by 8.2 ± 2.3% (pre, dep, post, P < 0.05). Oxyhemoglobin saturation mildly improved (1 ± 0.3%, pre, dep, post, P < 0.05). Forced vital capacity (% predicted) increased by 3.9 ± 1.2%, but was not significant (P = 0.19). Total body weight of 89 patients improved by 1.9 ± 0.9% during the camp time (P < 0.05, t-test), and in a group of 24 patients weight continuously increased up to 5.0 ± 1.7% at 3 months after the camp (P = 0.004, ANOVA).
Conclusions: In this attrition-limited retrospective study, European CF patients improved their pulmonary function and gained weight during and up to 3 months after a 3 week rehabilitation winter camp at the Dead Sea, Israel.