Study objective: To determine whether an aerobic endurance training program (AET) in comparison to normal daily activities improves exercise capacity in lung transplant recipients.
Patients and study design: Nine lung transplant recipients (12+/-6 months after transplant) were examined. All patients underwent incremental bicycle ergometry with the work rate increased in increments of 20 W every 3 min. Identical exercise tests were performed after 11+/-5 weeks of normal daily activities and then after a 6-week AET. The weekly aerobic training time increased from 60 min at the beginning to 120 min during the last week. Training intensity ranged from 30 to 60% of the maximum heart rate reserve.
Results: Normal daily activities had no effect on exercise performance. The AET induced a significant decrease in resting minute ventilation from 14+/-5 to 11+/-3 L/min. At an identical, submaximal level of exercise, a significant decrease in minute ventilation from 47+/-14 L/min to 39+/-13 L/min and heart rate from 144+/-12 to 133+/-17 beats/min, before and after the AET, was noted. The increase in peak oxygen uptake after AET was statistically significant (1.13+/-0.32 to 1.26+/-0.27 L/min).
Conclusions: These data demonstrate that normal daily activities do not affect exercise performance in lung transplant recipients > or = 6 months after lung transplantation. An AET improves submaximal and peak exercise performance significantly.