Objective: This study investigates the feasibility, reliability, and correlations of recommended functional tests in lung transplant recipients shortly after surgery.
Design: Observational study
Methods: 50 patients (28 females) performed well standardized maximum isometric back extension in a sitting position, hand grip strength, and Biering-Sorensen endurance tests shortly before discharge from the acute hospital, shortly thereafter, and two months later following subacute rehabilitation.
Results: Back extension testing was well feasible but only two thirds of the patients could perform the Biering-Sorensen test at baseline and they experienced a greater number of minor but no major adverse events. Absolute reliability measures and the intraclass-correlation-coefficients were excellent for the strength [0.97 - 0.98 (0.95 - 0.99)] and good for the endurance tests [0.69 (0.26 - 0.87)]. Hand grip revealed high correlation with back strength (>=0.75) but not with Biering-Sorensen scores.
Conclusion: Well controlled maximum back strength testing is feasible, reliable, and the scores are highly correlated with grip strength in lung transplant recipients shortly before hospital discharge. The Biering-Sorensen test should be limited to patients without dominant weakness and/or fear. Future research should investigate if grip instead of back extension strength can safely be used for proper exercise prescription.
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