Acute cardiovascular responses to leg-press resistance exercise in heart transplant recipients
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BACKGROUND: Reduced skeletal muscle strength is characteristic of individuals following heart transplantation. Weight lifting exercise has been demonstrated as an effective means by which to increase muscular strength in other cardiac patients but the appropriateness of this form of exercise in heart transplant patients has not been investigated. The purpose of this study was to describe the cardiovascular responses of heart transplant patients to a single, prolonged bout of weight lifting training. METHODS: Twenty-three heart transplant recipients were stratified into early (Early; 3 months; n=6), intermediate (Intermediate; 1-3 years; n=7) and late (Late; 5-14 years; n=10) post transplant groups and studied in four experimental conditions: supine rest, upright rest, single leg-press exercise (28 repetitions over 2 min 20 s at 50% 1 repetition maximum) and recovery. Swan-Ganz catheterization allowed measurement of right heart pressures and cardiac output by thermodilution. Systemic arterial pressures and heart rate were measured continuously using a non-invasive finger cuff. RESULTS: Cardiac output increased by 30, 40 and 54% during exercise in Early, Intermediate and Late, respectively. Heart rate increased by 4.5% in Early compared to 11 and 16% increases in Intermediate and Late. At peak exercise, systolic blood pressures reached average values of 179+/-9, 180+/-14 and 176+/-8 mmHg in Early, Intermediate and Late, respectively. Average mean pulmonary artery pressure did not exceed 30 mmHg and average pulmonary wedge pressure did not exceed 15 mmHg in any group during the exercise. CONCLUSIONS: These observations indicate that a lengthened set of single leg-press exercise at a moderate lifting intensity can be performed within safe and acceptable physiological limits in patients following heart transplantation. To better address the specific rehabilitation needs of heart transplant recipients, future research should focus on developing training programs which include weight lifting exercise.
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