Physical Condition, Glycemia, Liver Function, and Quality of Life in Liver Transplant Recipients After a 12-Month Supervised Exercise Program

Valentina Totti, Mariarosa Tamè, Patrizia Burra, Giovanni Mosconi, Giulio Sergio Roi, Gianluigi Sella, Andrea Ermolao, Alberto Ferrarese, Sergio Sgarzi, Gustavo Savino, Giuseppe Parodi, Giacomo Poggioli, Alessandro Ricchiuti, Rocco Di Michele, Manuela Trerotola, Alessandro Nanni Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Despite the excellent long-term outcomes in liver transplant (LT) recipients, several medical complications related to lifestyle still represent an issue. This study examined the effects of a 12-month supervised aerobic and strength training program on the aerobic capacity, muscle strength, metabolic profile, liver function, and quality of life of a cohort of LT recipients.

METHODS: LT recipients with stable liver function were assigned to interventional exercise (group A) or usual care (group B). Aerobic capacity, muscle strength, metabolic profile, liver and kidney function, and health-related quality of life were assessed at baseline and after 6 and 12 months. Group A attended supervised training sessions 3 times per week for 12 months. Group B received general recommendations about home-based exercise.

RESULTS: Forty patients from 6 Italian LT centers were randomized. Twenty-nine (72.5%, men-to-women ratio 23:6, mean age, 52 ± 8 years) LT recipients completed the study. Baseline characteristics were similar between groups except for body mass index and time from LT. No episode of acute rejection nor increase of transaminases occurred. Maximum workload and body mass index increased in both groups over time, but fasting glucose significantly decreased in group A (94.0 ± 15.0 mg/dL vs 90.0 ± 17.0 mg/dL; P = .037) and increased in controls (95.0 ± 24.0 mg/dL vs 102.0 ± 34.0 mg/dL, P = .04). Upper limb muscle strength increased only in supervised LT recipients. Vitality and general and mental health domains significantly improved after physical exercise.

CONCLUSIONS: Supervised combined training was safe and effective in increasing aerobic capacity, muscle strength, and quality of life and in improving glucose metabolism in stable LT recipients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2952-2957
Number of pages6
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Exercise Therapy/methods
  • Female
  • Glycemic Index
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Liver Transplantation/rehabilitation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength
  • Physical Fitness
  • Quality of Life


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