Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2009) 08, 696 - 701

Case report
Exercise Limitations in a Competitive Cyclist Twelve Months Post Heart Transplantation
Jeremy A. Patterson , Nicolas G. Walton
Author Information
Department of Human Performance Studies, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas, USA

Jeremy A. Patterson
✉ Department of Human Performance Studies, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas, USA
Publish Date
Received: 03-07-2009
Accepted: 29-09-2009
Published (online): 01-12-2009
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It has been well documented that for heart transplant recipients (HTrecipient) post transplantation exercise capacity does not exceed 60% of healthy age-matched controls. Few studies have been undertaken to determine the cause of exercise limitations following heart transplantation (HT) for an elite athlete. Participant was a 39 year old elite male cyclist who suffered an acute myocardial infarction after a cycling race and received a heart transplant (HT) four months later. Six weeks prior to his AMI fitness testing was completed and a predicted VO2max of 58 mL·kg-1·min-1 and HRmax of 171 bpm was achieved. The participant underwent maximal exercise testing 6 and 12 months post transplant to determine exercise limitations. His results 6 and 12 months post transplant were a VO2max of 33.8 and 44.2 mL·kg-1·min-1 respectively, and a HR max that was 97% and 96% of HRmax measured. The participant showed an increase in both HRmax and VO2max 12 months post HT compared to previous testing. Results suggest that the limiting factors to exercise following HT are likely due to peripheral function, which became diminished as a result accumulated from 4 months of congestive heart failure, the strain of HT, and immunosuppressive therapy leading up to the exercise testing. Lifestyle before HT and a more aggressive approach to HT recovery should be considered necessary in the improvement of peripheral functioning following HT.

Key words: Transplant rehabilitation, orthotopic transplant, aerobic capacity

           Key Points
  • Physical work capacity following heart transplantation is not limited by cardiac denervation.
  • Heart transplant rehabilitation should focus efforts on endothelial and muscular limitations.
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