Dr. Daniel Langer of a University Hospitals in Leuven, Belgium, said lung transplant patients often remain inactive after surgery, and up to half develop illnesses such as osteoporosis, high cholesterol levels and diabetes. Ninety percent develop high blood pressure.
Langer, the lead author, said the study involved 40 patients -- average age 59 -- who had not experienced complications after single or double lung transplants. They were randomly placed in two groups, with 21 patients taking part in a three-month exercise initiative and the other 19 forming the control group.
Patients in the intervention group exercised -- cycling, walking, stair climbing and resistance exercise -- three times a week following their discharge from hospital, with each session lasting about 90 minutes.
The study, published in the American Journal of Transplantation, found after one year, the patients in the intervention group were walking an average of 85 minutes a day, plus or minus 27 minutes, while the control group walked an average of 54 minutes a day, plus or minus 30 minutes.
In addition, quadriceps muscle force, how far patients could walk in 6 minutes and self-reported physical functioning were significantly higher in the patients who exercised and blood pressure was significantly lower in the treated patients, the study said.