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Research Article

Vol. 19 No. 1 (2021)

Community-based exercise program for solid organ transplant recipients: Views of exercise professionals and patients

August 10, 2020


Purpose of the study: Although transplantation improves quality of life in solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients, recipients continue to have limitations in exercise capacity and decreased levels of physical activity (PA) years after transplant. Community Based Exercise (CBE) programs have been shown to successfully increase PA levels in other populations, however none exist for SOT recipients.

Objective: To identify important factors when developing and implementing a CBE program for SOT recipients.

Methods: We conducted a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with seven SOT recipients, and six exercise professionals (EPs). The data was analyzed using thematic analysis.

Main findings: Six themes were identified: 1) Motivators to exercise; 2) Perceived barriers to exercise (financial vulnerability post-transplantation, fear of injury, lack of exercise recommendations and medication side effect); 3) Level of supervision (recipients wanted guidance without overprotective supervision, while EPs were torn between extensive monitoring, and promoting independence); 4) Required education and foundational knowledge in EPs; 5) The importance of CBE programs for the SOT population; and 6) Tailored program structure (group setting with individualized exercise prescription).

Principal conclusions: Recommendations may be used to develop an effective CBE program for SOT recipients, and thus improve PA levels among this population.


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