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J Heart Lung Transplant. 2003 Jan;22(1):16-27.

Clinical predictors of exercise capacity 1 year after cardiac transplantation.

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Division of Cardiovascular Disease, Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.



The exercise capacity of cardiac transplant recipients is reduced compared with normal controls. However, clinical variables predictive of post-transplant exercise capacity have not been well defined. The objective of the present study was to identify clinical features predictive of post-transplant exercise capacity.


Ninety-five cardiac transplant recipients underwent cardiopulmonary testing at 1 year after transplant. The exercise parameters were compared with both pre-transplant values and normal subjects. The relationships between exercise parameters and clinical characteristics were analyzed.


Mean peak oxygen consumption (VO(2)) and exercise test duration at 1-year post-transplant improved significantly from 16.4 to 19.9 ml/kg/min and 5.5 to 7.6 minutes, respectively (p < 0.001), but were significantly lower than for normal controls (peak VO(2) 34.0 ml/kg/min; exercise duration 11.2 minutes; p < 0.001). Age- and gender-adjusted VO(2) was 54% of predicted. Pre-operative body weight correlated strongly with post-transplant weight (r = 0.80, p < 0.001). Significant recipient predictors of 1-year post-transplant peak VO(2) identified by multivariate regression analysis were age, male gender, body mass index, exercise peak heart rate and duration of post-operative intensive care. Donor variables did not contribute significantly to post-transplant peak VO(2).


Peak VO(2) improved after cardiac transplantation but remained significantly impaired compared with normal subjects. In estimating the impact of cardiac transplantation on exercise capacity the most important pre-transplant factors to consider are age, gender and height and weight (or, alternatively, body mass index).

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