New exercise programme to reduce heart disease risk in kidney transplant patients

A new exercise programme is being developed by researchers at our University, working with Loughborough University and Leicester’s Hospitals, to reduce the risk of heart disease in people who have had a kidney transplant.

More than 3,000 kidney transplants were carried out in the UK during the year 2015/16, while there were more than 5,000 people on the waiting list for a kidney. While this can hugely transform their lives, these patients also face an increased risk of heart disease and general damage to the heart, which in turn can lead to kidney damage. 

Exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy heart and recent research by the Loughborough and Leicester team suggests that while kidney transplant patients want to be active, they are unsure of how much exercise to do, what type to do and worry about ‘overdoing it’ or damaging their new kidney. 

This new research project, funded by a £147,800 grant from national charity Heart Research UK, will compare the impact of different interval training programmes in kidney patients with the long term aim of developing safe and effective exercise programmes and guidelines to help reduce their risk of heart disease.

Co-investigator Dr Alice Smith (pictured), from the Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, who leads the Leicester Kidney Exercise Team, frequently gets emails and phone calls from kidney transplant recipients from all over the UK asking her about exercise. She said: "These people are keen to be active as they feel so much better after receiving a new kidney, but we just don’t know enough about exercise with a kidney transplant to be able to advise them. We are delighted that we can undertake this important new study to begin to provide patients and doctors with the answers to their questions."