August 08, 2013
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Exercise may reduce metabolic syndrome among liver transplant recipients

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Liver transplant recipients were less likely to develop metabolic syndrome when reporting regular and more intense exercise in a recent study.

In a cross-sectional analysis, researchers evaluated 204 liver transplant recipients who had undergone transplantation more than 3 months before study enrollment (median 53.5 months). Height, weight, waist circumference and blood pressure were assessed, and patients reported the duration, frequency per week and metabolic equivalents (METS) of their physical activity.

Among participants, 58.8% had metabolic syndrome; 63.5% had it more than 1 year post-transplant. Metabolic syndrome patients were significantly older and more frequently had undergone transplantation more than 1 year earlier than those without metabolic syndrome.

Fifty-two percent of participants reported no exercise. The others exercised for a mean of 90 ± 142 minutes weekly, with a mean METS of 3.6 ±1.5. Investigators noted a correlation between exercise intensity and duration (r=0.463; P<.001). Multivariate analysis indicated significant associations between metabolic syndrome and having undergone transplantation more than 1 year earlier (OR=2.909; 95% CI, 1.389-6.092) and advanced age (OR=1.036; 95% CI, 1.001-1.072), as well as borderline associations with pretransplant diabetes (OR=2.119; 95% CI, 0.982-4.572) and exercise intensity (OR=0.828; 95% CI, 0.677-1.014 for METS).

Among 156 patients who received transplantation more than 1 year before enrollment, 51% reported exercising (mean duration 94.8 ± 139.1 minutes per week, mean intensity 3.7 ± 1.6 METS). In this subgroup, multivariate analysis indicated significant associations between metabolic syndrome and advanced age (OR=1.056; 95% CI, 1.014-1.101), diabetes before transplantation (OR=4.246; 95% CI, 1.3-13.864) and less intense exercise (OR=0.69; 95% CI, 0.536-0.887 for METS).

“Our findings suggest that exercise could help reduce metabolic syndrome complications in liver transplant recipients,” researcher Eric R. Kallwitz, MD, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Ill., said in a press release. “Given the early onset of metabolic abnormalities following transplant, an effective intervention such as a structured exercise program during the first year after surgery may benefit liver transplant patients.”

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.