Personalized physical rehabilitation program and employment in kidney transplant recipients: a randomized trial

Alexandra Kastelz*, Bo Fernhall, Edward Wang, Ivo Tzvetanov, Mario Spaggiari, Aneesha Shetty, Lorenzo Gallon, Greg Hachaj, Bruce Kaplan, Enrico Benedetti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Kidney transplantation is the preferred treatment for kidney failure; however after transplant, reduced physical function, poor self-perceptions, and unemployment are common concerns that remain. This randomized controlled trial compared the effects of a 12-month exercise rehabilitation program (intervention) to standard care alone (control) in kidney transplant recipients. The exercise intervention consisted of a 2 day/week, 60-minute personalized, one-on-one, resistance-based exercise trainings. Eighty participants completed the study (52 intervention vs. 28 control). For individuals unemployed at baseline, there was a 52.3% increase in employment compared to 13.3 % increase in the control group after 12 months (P = <0.0001). For those already employed at baseline, 100% of individuals maintained employment in both groups after 12 months (P = 0.4742). For all comers, there was a positive trend for Global Physical Health (P = 0.0034), Global Mental Health (P = 0.0064), and Physical Function (P = 0.0075), with the intervention group showing greater improvements. These findings suggest the implementation of an exercise rehabilitation program postkidney transplant can be beneficial to increase employment for individuals previously unemployed, improve self-perceived health, physical function, and mental health, overall contributing to better health outcomes in kidney transplant recipients. ( number: NCT02409901).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1083-1092
Number of pages10
JournalTransplant International
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • employment
  • exercise
  • kidney transplant
  • physical rehabilitation
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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