The effects of a physical exercise program in Chinese kidney transplant recipients: a prospective randomised controlled trial

Author: Pengpeng Zhang1, Shan Liu2, Xiao Zhu1, Huan Liu1, Le Zeng1, Jin Yan3, Jia Liu1,4
1 Department of Transplantation, Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, Changsha, China.
2 Adelphi University College of Nursing and Public Health, Garden City, NY, USA.
3 Nursing Department, Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, Changsha, China.
4 Nursing School of Central South University, Changsha, China.
Conference/Journal: Clin Kidney J
Date published: 2023 Mar 25
Other: Volume ID: 16 , Issue ID: 8 , Pages: 1316-1329 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1093/ckj/sfad065. , Word Count: 297

Kidney transplant has become the preferred therapy for end-stage renal disease. However, kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) still face several challenges, such as physical inactivity. The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of a nurse-led physical exercise program in Chinese KTRs.

A total of 106 participants were enrolled from the Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University between July 2021 and June 2022 and randomly assigned to the control or intervention groups. Participants in the control group were provided with routine nursing care and participants in the intervention group received a nurse-led rigorous physical exercise program that was divided into two stages: the pre-discharge stage and the post-discharge stage. The pre-discharge stage included the non-ambulatory and ambulatory stages. The Chinese traditional exercise Baduanjin was incorporated into the physical exercise during the ambulatory stage. The post-discharge stage continued the same exercise as the ambulatory stage at home. After 3 months of intervention, both groups received the same follow-up for 3 months. The primary and secondary outcomes of all participants were collected. The data were analysed with repeated measures analysis of variance to examine the effectiveness of the intervention.

Compared with the control group, the intervention group had less fatigue and more motivation to be active in primary outcomes. Moreover, patients in the intervention group had a higher phase angle, a longer 6-minute walk distance, more 30-second chair stand times and decreased anxiety and depression levels in secondary outcomes. No adverse events were observed during the intervention. There were no significant differences in all dimensions of the quality-of-life questionnaire between the intervention and the control group.

Chinese KTRs could benefit from the nurse-led physical exercise program post-operatively.

Trial registration:

Keywords: fatigue; kidney transplant; physical exercise program; randomized controlled trial; sport motivation.

PMID: 37529646 PMCID: PMC10387397 DOI: 10.1093/ckj/sfad065