Kidney Transplant Patients Urged to Keep Fit to Survive

THURSDAY March 3, 2011 -- Exercise may help kidney transplant patients live longer, according to a new study.

Dutch researchers assessed the health of 540 kidney transplant recipients between 2001 and 2003 and monitored their physical activity levels until 2007. The investigators found that 260 (48 percent) of the patients did not meet guidelines for minimum requirements of physical activity and 79 (14.6 percent) were completely inactive.

During the study period, there were 81 deaths among the patients, including 37 heart-related deaths. The death rate was higher among those who participated in lower levels of physical activity, the study authors found.

According to the report, released online March 3 in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, cardiovascular deaths occurred in 11.7 percent of inactive patients, 7.2 percent of moderately active patients and 1.7 percent of active patients. The rates of death from any cause were 24.4 percent in inactive patients, 15 percent in moderately active patients and 5.6 percent in active patients.

The association between low levels of physical activity and increased risk of death was not substantially affected when the researchers adjusted for factors such as heart health, kidney function, muscle mass, diabetes and smoking.

Looking after their heart is particularly important for kidney transplant patients, who are four to six times more likely to die from cardiovascular causes than people in the general population, Dorien Zelle, of University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands, and her colleagues noted in a news release from the American Society of Nephrology.

More information

The National Kidney Foundation has more about kidney transplant.

Posted: March 2011


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