American Journal of Transplantation : official journal of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons vol:4 issue:4 pages:554-60
Physical functioning is improved after liver transplantation but studies comparing liver transplant recipients with normal healthy people are lacking. How liver (and other organ) transplant recipients tolerate strenuous physical activities is unknown. There are no data on the tolerance of transplant patients at high altitude. Six liver transplant subjects were selected to participate in a trek up Mount Kilimanjaro 5895 m, Tanzania. Physical performance and susceptibility to acute mountain sickness were prospectively compared with fifteen control subjects with similar profiles and matched for age and body mass index. The Borg-scale (a rating of perceived exertion) and cardiopulmonary parameters at rest were prospectively compared with six control subjects also matched for gender and VO2max. Immunosuppression in transplant subjects was based on tacrolimus. No difference was seen in physical performance, Borg-scales and acute mountain sickness scores between transplant and control subjects. Eight-three percent of transplant subjects and 84.6% of control subjects reached the summit (p=0.7). Oxygen saturation decreased whereas arterial blood pressure and heart rate increased with altitude in both groups. The only difference was the development of arterial hypertension in transplant subjects at 3950 m (p=0.036). Selected and well-prepared liver transplant recipients can perform strenuous physical activities and tolerate exposure to high altitude similar to normal healthy people.