Cardiopulmonary exercise testing before and after lung and heart-lung transplantation

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1999 Apr;159(4 Pt 1):1277-83. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.159.4.9805113.


Heart-lung (HLT) and lung transplantation (LT) have been shown to be effective procedures for patients with end-stage cardiopulmonary disorders. As yet, few data exist on the exercise performance of patients before and after thoracic transplantation except with regard to 6-min walk tests. In this article we report cardiopulmonary exercise test results of lung and heart-lung transplant recipients in comparison with their pretransplant values. We studied 103 consecutive recipients of single-lung (n = 46), bilateral lung (n = 32), and heart-lung (n = 25) transplants. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing with a cycle ergometer was performed before and shortly after surgery. Before transplantation, all patients showed severe exercise intolerance and markedly impaired parameters reflecting cardiopulmonary function (e.g., work capacity: 20 +/- 11% predicted; oxygen uptake: 34 +/- 12% predicted; oxygen pulse: 50 +/- 18% predicted; functional dead space ventilation: 57 +/- 10% of minute ventilation; alveolar-arterial oxygen difference during exercise: 79 +/- 15 mm Hg). At 55 +/- 9 d after transplantation, transplant recipients reached maximum oxygen uptakes in the range of 22 to 71% of predicted values; the peak oxygen uptake was increased after transplantation (13.1 +/- 3.4 ml/min/kg versus 10.4 +/- 3.8 ml/min/kg; p < 0.001). Work capacity, oxygen pulse, tidal volume, and peak minute ventilation did not differ in patients following single- or double-lung tranplantation or HLT. Ventilatory factors did not appear to limit exercise capacity in any group. Despite the persistent limitations in aerobic capacity and work rate seen in many of the recipients, cardiopulmonary performance is reasonably well restored shortly after LT and HLT.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Exercise Test*
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Female
  • Heart-Lung Transplantation / physiology*
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Lung Transplantation / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Respiratory Mechanics


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen