High-intensity exercise safe, beneficial for heart transplant recipients

High-intensity exercise is safe and beneficial among long-term heart transplant recipients, a new study shows.
By David Sims | Mar 02, 2016
High-intensity exercise is safe and beneficial for long-term heart transplant recipients, a new study shows. The study, published in the American Journal of Transplantation, suggests that high-intensity exercise can help such patients achieve higher levels of exercise capacity and have better control of their blood pressure than with moderate intensity exercise as long as they are stable.

Recent research suggests that high-intensity interval exercise, which consists of training for several minutes near the maximum heart rate, is safer and more effective for broadening exercise capacity in various groups of patients with heart disease when compared with moderate exercise.

Researchers examined whether individuals with a new heart have similar benefits from high-intensity interval training, or if they should adhere to current recommendations of exercising at a moderate intensity. To do this, the researchers the effects after 12 weeks of high-intensity interval training with continued moderate training among 16 stable heart transplant recipients who were at least one year post-transplant.

Christian Dall, PhD fellow, MSc, of the Bispebjerg Hospital at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, said in a statement, " most patients continue to have limitations in their physical function and reduced quality of life compared to the general population due to side-effects from anti-rejection medications and because heart rate regulation is impaired after heart transplantation." He continued," The impaired heart rate response has been considered a hindrance for more demanding high-intensity training, but this new study documents that stable heart transplant recipients benefit from this type of training more than from the moderate training that has been recommended so far. Importantly, the training is also safe and well received by patients."

According to Webmd.com, carefully selected recipients can have highly successful transplants, with a rate of 87 out of 100 recipients surviving a heart transplant for at least one year, and 50 out of 100 surviving up to 10 years.

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