Does exercise influence burn-induced inflammation: A cross-over randomised controlled feasibility trial



Burn injuries trigger a greater and more persistent inflammatory response than other trauma cases. Exercise has been shown to positively influence inflammation in healthy and diseased populations, however little is known about the latent effect of exercise on chronic inflammation in burn injured patients. The aims of the pilot study were to assess the feasibility of implementing a long duration exercise training program, in burn injured individuals including learnings associated with conducting a clinical trial in COVID-19 pandemic.


Fifteen participants with a burn injury between 5–20% total body surface area acquired greater than a year ago were randomised in a within-subject designed study, into one of two conditions, exercise–control or control–exercise. The exercise condition consisted of six weeks of resistance and cardiovascular exercises, completed remotely or supervised in a hospital gym. A comprehensive outcome measurement was completed at the initial, mid and end point of each exercise and control condition. To determine the success of implementation, the feasibility indicator for the data completeness across the comprehensive outcome battery was set at 80%.


Half (49%) of eligible participants in the timeframe, were recruited and commenced the study. Six participants withdrew prior to completion and a total of 15 participants completed the study. Eight participants were randomised to the exercise-control and seven to the control exercise group. Five participants trained remotely and seven did supervised training. Three participants completed a mix of both supervised and remote training initiated due to COVID restrictions. Outcome measures were completed on 97% of protocolised occasions and 100% of participants completed the exercise training.


Conducting a long duration exercise training study on burn injured individuals is feasible using the described methods. The knowledge gained helps improve the methodology in larger-scale projects. Insights into the impact of COVID-19 on this clinical trial and success enhancing adaptations for the researcher, research practice and the participant, are presented.


Exercise, Sports and exercise medicine, Burns, Covid-19 research impact, Traumatic injury

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