Perceptions and Experiences of High-Intensity Interval Training in Kidney Transplant Recipients: A Big HIIT?

Nephrol Nurs J. 2023 Jan-Feb;50(1):31-42.


High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is considered a novel and time-efficient method to reduce cardiovascular disease risk, a leading cause of mortality in kidney transplant recipients. However, research in this population is severely limited. The aim of this study was to understand kidney transplant recipients' perceptions and experiences of HIIT and their readiness to participate in HIIT. Individual, semi-structured interviews were conducted in adults with a kidney transplant (n = 13; 53±13 years). Interviews were audiorecorded, transcribed verbatim, and subjected to framework analysis. Overall, participants had a good knowledge of HIIT and were open to participation. Acknowledgment of the superior benefits to cardiovascular, mental, and general health, as well as the lower time commitment, were all motivators for participation. There were some heightened concerns around damaging the kidney and 'knowing your limits. Personalization, physician's approval, and supervision were all important factors in participation. This study provides evidence that HIIT would be, in principle, largely accepted by recipients of a kidney transplant. However, several considerations are also identified in the present study, which would be essential to the success of any future efficacy trial or rehabilitation program.

Keywords: chronic kidney disease; exercise; high-intensity interval training; kidney transplantation; qualitative research; rehabilitation; semi-structured interview.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise Therapy / methods
  • Heart Rate
  • High-Intensity Interval Training* / methods
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Transplant Recipients