Exercise training before and after lung transplantation

Sunita Mathur, Elizabeth Hornblower, Robert D Levy
Physician and Sportsmedicine 2009, 37 (3): 78-87
The benefits of exercise training in individuals with chronic lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, and interstitial lung disease have been well documented. Although there is limited research available, it appears that exercise is safe and beneficial for people with severe end-stage chronic lung disease who are awaiting lung transplantation in addition to recipients of lung transplants. Evidence-based guidelines for exercise training in the pre- and post-lung transplantation phases have not yet been developed. However, by considering exercise guidelines for people with chronic lung disease and in older adults in light of the physiological changes that can occur either pre- or post-lung transplantation, a safe and appropriate exercise training program can be developed. Depending on the individual's exercise capacity and goals, the training program may include aerobic and resistance exercise, and flexibility and balance training. In the pre-transplant and acute post-transplant phases, the intensity of exercise is dictated primarily by symptom limitation and adequate rest, which is required between exercise bouts to allow for recovery. In the post-transplant phase, it is possible for lung transplant recipients to increase their exercise capacity and even participate in sports. Further research needs to be conducted to determine the optimal training guidelines and the long-term benefits of exercise, both in lung transplant candidates and recipients.

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