Background:A hospital-based cardiac rehabilitation program can significantly improve the cardiopulmonary endurance and quality of life (QOL) in patients after orthotopic heart transplantation (OHT). Home-based programs for these patients have advantages of low cost and high accessibility, but little is known about their efficacy. This prospective study was designed to evaluate the effect of an 8-week home-based exercise program on muscular strength and endurance of lower limbs, aerobic capacity and QOL in OHT recipients. Methods:Thirty-seven OHT recipients were randomized into exercise (n = 14) or control (n = 23) groups. Exercise group subjects were to exercise at least 3 times a week for 8 weeks. Each subject was evaluated by Cybex testing of right quadriceps strength and endurance, 1-min sit-to-stand test, a symptom-limited maximal exercise test and QOL assessment before and after 8 weeks. Results: Subjects in the exercise group improved significantly in sit-to-stand test, fatigue index of the right quadriceps, maximal workload achieved and physical domain of QOL compared to controls after 8 weeks, regardless of older age and lower value for sit-to-stand test at baseline. Conclusions: OHT recipients can significantly improve their muscular endurance, sit-to-stand test scores and QOL after a medically directed home-based exercise program.
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