HumanInsight Virtual cardiac fitness training in pediatric heart transplant patients: A pilot study
Pediatr Transplant. 2022 Oct 26:e14419. doi: 10.1111/petr.14419. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Cardiac fitness training in pediatric heart transplant recipients can improve functional capacity. Widespread implementation has been limited mostly due to logistical constraints, specifically related to travel. The aim of this study was to implement and assess a virtual cardiac fitness program for pediatric heart transplant patients.
METHODS: Participants were between the age of 10 and 20 years old. All subjects completed an initial 6MWT, strength/flexibility assessment, and QOL assessment with the PROMIS measurement. Participants then underwent a 16-week intervention with exercise sessions twice weekly for 30 min with a trained exercise physiologist over a virtual platform. At the end of the intervention period, participants repeated a 6MWT, strength/flexibility assessment, and PROMIS measurement. Throughout the study, patients wore a FitBit accelerometer to monitor daily activity levels.
RESULTS: Thirteen individuals were enrolled. Mean age was 15.4 years (SD =3.4) with a mean post-transplant period of 9.7 years (SD = 4.3). Session attendance was 83%. Post-intervention measurements showed improvements in 6MWT (median, +21 m, p = .02), push-up repetitions (median, +5 rep, p = .0005), wall-sit duration (median, +10 s, p = .001), plank duration (median, +9 s, p = .03), sit-up repetitions (median, +7 rep, p = .002), and sit and reach distance (median, +5 cm, p = .04). PROMIS measurement showed significant improvements in self-reported fatigue (Δz-score, -7.7, p = .008) and sleep impairment (Δz-score, -5.9, p = .002). Average daily step count increased 1464 steps per day per patient (p = .008).
CONCLUSION: We have demonstrated the successful implementation of a virtual cardiac fitness with excellent adherence and improvement in physical fitness and QOL metrics.
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