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High-intensity interval training in youth who have received heart transplants: A randomized, cross-over trial
Children who have undergone heart transplants (HT) have reduced fitness levels, or exercise capacity, compared with the general population. Exercise programs in children who have received HTs, however, have not been well studied. At the University of Alberta, a home-based, video-game-linked exercise bike that allows for a live video feed along with heart tracing and oxygen saturation monitoring (the MedBIKE) has been developed and studied in children born with severe forms of heart disease. We are now seeking to study this in children who have received HTs.
To do this, we will include children aged 10 to 18 years old who are at least six months post-HT. Participants will undergo an exercise stress test to determine their baseline fitness levels. Participants will then be randomly assigned to one of two groups:: the MedBIKE group or the control group, consisting of usual care. Participants in the MedBIKE group will have a MedBIKE installed in their homes and complete a 36-session, 12-week home-based high-intensity interval training (HIIT) program. Each session will be supervised by a cardiologist or exercise physiologist. The difficulty of each session can be modified by the supervisor as needed. After the 12 weeks, all participants will return for a follow-up exercise test, after which participants in the control group will receive the MedBIKE and complete the 12-week program (with a repeat exercise test at completion) so that all participants get to use the MedBIKE.
This study will be the first to evaluate a home-based, yet supervised, exercise program in children who have undergone HT. We hope that these findings will help promote strategies to support active, healthy living in young HT recipients.