Background: Performance-based measures of physical function predict morbidity following non-transplant surgery. Study objectives were to determine whether physical function predicts outcomes after kidney transplant and assess how physical function changes post-transplant.
Methods: We conducted a prospective study involving living donor kidney transplants recipients at our center from May 2012 to February 2014. Physical function was measured using the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB [balance, chair stands, gait speed]) and grip strength testing. Initial length of stay (LOS), 30- day rehospitalizations, allograft function, and quality of life (QOL) were assessed.
Results: The majority of the 140 patients in our cohort had excellent pre-transplant physical function. In general, balance scores were more predictive of post-transplant outcomes than the SPPB. Decreased pre-transplant balance was independently associated with longer LOS and increased rehospitalizations but not with post-transplant QOL; 35% of patients experienced a clinically meaningful (≥ 1.0 m/s) improvement in gait speed 4 months post-transplant.
Conclusions: Decreased physical function may be associated with longer LOS and rehospitalizations following kidney transplant. Further studies are needed to confirm this association. The lack of relationship between pre-transplant gait speed and outcomes in our cohort may represent a ceiling effect. More comprehensive measures, including balance testing, may be required for risk stratification.
Keywords: glomerular filtration rate (GFR); hospital readmission; kidney transplantation: living donor; quality of life (QOL).
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.