Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Social Welfare and Health sciences, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
| [b] Rappaport, Faculty of Medicine, Technion, Haifa, Israel
Pulmonary Institute, Rabin Medical Center, Beilinson Hospital, Petach Tikva, Israel
Corresponding author: Nissan Graur, PT, PhD., University of Haifa, Hazait 84, Sitriyya, 76834, Israel. E-mail: [email protected].
Abstract: BACKGROUND:Lung transplantation (LTx) is an established treatment option for patients with end-stage lung diseases. Nevertheless, exercise intolerance, respiratory muscle function impairment, functional disability, and peripheral muscle weakness often persist following LTx. PURPOSE:To examine the effectiveness of a pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) program and home-based inspiratory muscle training (IMT) alone or in combination, in post lung transplantation (LTx) patients. METHODS:In a prospective pilot study a sample of 22 patients who had undergone LTx 4–18 months prior, were randomized to groups of PR alone, or combined with home-based IMT, or IMT alone, for six months: four months in the intervention program and two months of follow-up. Inspiratory muscle strength was assessed by measuring the maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP). RESULTS:There was a statistically significant increase in MIP values as well as in the 6-min-walk-test, only in the PR combined with home-based IMT, and IMT exercise groups. From baseline after 2- and 4-months intervention and at 6-months at follow-up, there was a statistically significant correlation between MIP and Maximum Voluntary Ventilation (MVV) values. CONCLUSIONS:Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) program combined with inspiratory muscle training (IMT) or home-based IMT alone, in post lung transplantation patients, seems to be the best exercise combination for achieving the optimal effect, in inspiratory muscle strength and exercise capacity, with evidence for long-term benefits. Patients should be encouraged to participate in a PR program that includes home-based IMT exercise, especially in times of restricted mobility, as currently due to the COVID-19 pandemic.