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J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2005 Sep-Oct;20(5):334-9.

Physical activity patterns in heart transplant women.

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  • 1School of Nursing, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


Maintaining regular, long-term physical activity is critical to achieve favorable effects of heart transplantation. Yet, at present, little is known about the physical activity patterns of transplant recipients, especially women. The study was conducted to (1) describe levels and types of physical activity using actigraphy and self-report, (2) determine the association between physical activity and sociodemographic variables, and (3) assess the relationship between physical activity, quality of life (QOL), and relevant health indicators (hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and obesity) among female heart transplant recipients. Twenty-seven women (average age, 57 +/- 13 years, primarily Caucasian [82%], retired [89%], married [67%], average time since transplant 2.1 +/- 1.3 years) from a single heart transplant facility were asked to report amount and types of physical activity and overall QOL and wear an actigraph for 1 week to measure physical activity level. Physical activity levels by actigraphy averaged 280,320 +/- 52,416 counts for the week (range, 206,784-354,144); self-reported physical activity level on a 0 to 10 scale was 4.3 +/- 0.37 (range, 0-7). The actigraph and self-reported measures were significantly correlated (r = 0.661, P = .000). It was found that women were more likely to engage in household tasks and family activities than occupational activities or sports. Significant differences in physical activity (F = 6.319, P = .006) were observed in participants who reported fair (n = 13), good (n = 9), and very good (n = 5) overall QOL. The only demographic factor associated with physical activity was age; younger women were more active than older women (r = -0.472, P = .013). A negative correlation was found between levels of physical activity and presence of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and obesity. It was found that a majority of female transplant recipients remains sedentary. Given the association between physical activity and overall QOL and relevant health indicators, measures to enhance physical activity need to be developed and tested; these strategies may be beneficial in improving overall outcomes.

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