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Cardiac transplant and exercise cardiac rehabilitation.

Heart Failure Reviews 2023 November
Cardiac transplantation is the final therapeutic option for patients with end-stage heart failure. Most patients experience a favorable functional ability post-transplant. However, episodes of acute rejection, and multiple comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease and cardiac allograft vasculopathy are common. The number of transplants has increased steadily over the past two decades with 3,817 operations performed in the United States in 2021. Patients have abnormal exercise physiologic responses related to surgical cardiac denervation, diastolic dysfunction, and the legacy of reduced skeletal muscle oxidative capacity and impaired peripheral and coronary vasodilatory reserve resulting from pre-transplant chronic heart failure. Cardiorespiratory fitness is below normal for most patients with a mean peak VO2 of approximately 60% of predicted for healthy persons. Cardiac transplant recipients are therefore excellent candidates for Exercise-Based Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR). CR is safe and is a recommendation of professional societies both before (pre-rehabilitation) and after transplantation. CR improves peak VO2 , autonomic function, quality of life, and skeletal muscle strength. Exercise training reduces the severity of cardiac allograft vasculopathy, stroke risk, percutaneous coronary intervention, hospitalization for either acute rejection or heart failure, and death. However, there are deficits in our knowledge regarding CR for women and children. In addition, the use of telehealth options for the provision of CR for cardiac transplant patients requires additional investigation.

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