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  • 1. van den Berg-Emons, R. J.
    et al.
    van Ginneken, B. T.
    Nooijen, Carla F.
    Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam.
    Metselaar, H. J.
    Tilanus, H. W.
    Kazemier, G.
    Stam, H. J.
    Fatigue after liver transplantation: effects of a rehabilitation program including exercise training and physical activity counseling2014In: Physical Therapy, ISSN 0031-9023, E-ISSN 1538-6724, Vol. 94, no 6, p. 857-65Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    BACKGROUND: It is hypothesized that increasing physical fitness and daily physical activity can lead to a reduction in fatigue. However, standard medical care following liver transplantation seldom includes rehabilitation that focuses on physical fitness and physical activity. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to explore whether a rehabilitation program can reduce fatigue in recipients of liver transplants. Furthermore, effects on physical fitness, physical activity, and cardiovascular risk were studied, and adherence, satisfaction, and adverse events were assessed. DESIGN: This was an uncontrolled intervention study. SETTING: The study took place in an outpatient rehabilitation clinic. PATIENTS: Eighteen recipients of a liver transplant who were fatigued participated in a 12-week rehabilitation program including physical exercise training and counseling on physical activity. The primary outcome measure was fatigue. Other outcome measures were: aerobic capacity, muscle strength, body fat, daily physical activity, lipid profile, and glycemic control. All measurements were performed before and after the rehabilitation program. Adherence, satisfaction, and adverse events were registered. RESULTS: After the program, participants were significantly less fatigued, and the percentage of individuals with severe fatigue was 22% to 53% lower than before the program. In addition, aerobic capacity and knee flexion strength were significantly higher, and body fat was significantly lower after the program. Participants were able to perform physical exercise at the target training intensity, no adverse events were registered, and attendance (93%) and mean patient satisfaction (8.5 out of 10, range=7-10) were high. LIMITATIONS: No control group was used in the study. CONCLUSIONS: A rehabilitation program consisting of exercise training and physical activity counseling is well tolerated and seems promising in reducing fatigue and improving fitness among recipients of liver transplants.

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