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Impact of Activity-based Therapy on Respiratory Outcomes in a Medically Complex Child

MDPI Children - an Open Access Journal by MDPI

As published in MDPI Children

Activity-based Therapies (ABTs) focus on activating the neuromuscular system below the level of spinal cord injury (SCI) promoting neuromuscular capacity. Case description: A 2 year, 7 month old male with history of prematurity at 29 weeks, neonatal epidural abscess, resultant cervical SCI, respiratory failure, and global developmental delays presented for enrollment in an outpatient activity-based therapy program. Upon presentation to this program, he required nighttime mechanical ventilation via tracheostomy and daytime suctioning. He could not perform any age-appropriate activities and was described by his mother as ‘present’, neither engaged nor attentive. During and after 7 months of participation in ABTs including locomotor training and neuromuscular electrical stimulation, the patient demonstrated unexpected changes in his respiratory status leading to ventilator weaning with concomitant improvements in head and trunk control, participation, development, and quality of life. Discussion: ABT was not only safe for a medically complex child, but also this intervention had a remarkable effect on unresolved respiratory capacity and a more widespread impact on other functions as well as development. A child with a chronic, severe SCI demonstrated positive and impactful improvements in health, functional status, and quality of life during an episode of ABT.

This publication was authored by:

  • MacKenzie Goode-Roberts, PT, DPT
  • Scott G. Bickel, MD
  • Danielle L. Stout, OTR/L
  • Margaret L. Calvery, PhD
  • Jennifer E. Thompson, MD
  • Andrea L. Behrman, PhD, PT, FAPTA

Read the Complete Published Journal in MDPI Children.

Posted in Pediatric Publication