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Keywords:

  • barriers;
  • exercise;
  • heart;
  • kidney;
  • liver;
  • lung;
  • rehabilitation;
  • transplant

Trojetto T, Elliott RJ, Rashid S, Wong S, Dlugosz K, Helm D, Wickerson L, Brooks D. Availability, characteristics, and barriers of rehabilitation programs in organ transplant populations across Canada. Clin Transplant 2011: 25: E571–E578. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

Abstract:  Rehabilitation is receiving increasingly more attention from the medical community in the management of individuals’ pre- and post-organ transplantation. A cross-sectional descriptive survey was administered to all known transplant programs across Canada to explore the availability, characteristics, and barriers of rehabilitation programs pre- and post-heart, lung, kidney, and liver transplantation. Of the 58 programs surveyed, 35 agreed to participate (nine heart, six lung, 13 kidney, seven liver), and six refused for a response rate of 71%. Twelve transplant programs that offered rehabilitation were identified (six heart, five lung, one liver). All rehabilitation programs identified included aerobic exercises, strength training, and education and involved a multidisciplinary team. The Six Minute Walk Test and the Medical Outcomes Short Form-36 questionnaire were the most commonly used outcome measures. In kidney and liver transplant programs, over 50% of respondents from these programs cited lack of funding, shortage of health care personnel, and a low volume of patients in a centralized region as barriers to providing rehabilitation programs. Rehabilitation can play an integral role in pre- and post-transplantation management, and barriers to access and provision of rehabilitation for organ transplant populations should be examined further.