Exercise training for lung transplant candidates and recipients: a systematic review

Emily Hume, Lesley Ward, Michael Wilkinson, James Manifield, Stephen Clark, Ioannis Vogiatzis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Exercise intolerance and impaired quality of life (QoL) are characteristic of lung transplant candidates and recipients. This review investigated the effects of exercise training on exercise capacity, QoL and clinical outcomes in pre- and post-operative lung transplant patients.A systematic literature search of PubMed, Nursing and Allied Health, Cochrane (CENTRAL), Scopus and CINAHL databases was conducted from inception until February, 2020. The inclusion criteria were assessment of the impact of exercise training before or after lung transplantation on exercise capacity, QoL or clinical outcomes.21 studies met the inclusion criteria, comprising 1488 lung transplant candidates and 1108 recipients. Studies consisted of five RCTs, two quasi-experimental and 14 single-arm cohort or pilot studies. Exercise training improved or at least maintained exercise capacity and QoL before and after lung transplantation. The impact on clinical outcomes was less clear but suggested a survival benefit. The quality of evidence ranged from fair to excellent.Exercise training appears to be beneficial for patients before and after lung transplantation; however, the evidence for direct causation is limited by the lack of controlled trials. Well-designed RCTs are needed, as well as further research into the effect of exercise training on important post-transplant clinical outcomes, such as time to discharge, rejection, infection, survival and re-hospitalisation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number200053
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Respiratory Review
Issue number158
Early online date28 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020


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