Although sympathetic reinnervation is accompanied by the improvement of exercise tolerability during the first years after heart transplantation (HTx), little is known about parasympathetic reinnervation and its clinical impact. We enrolled 21 recipients (40 ± 16 years, 71% male) who had received successive cardiopulmonary exercise testing at 6 months, and 1 and 2 years after HTx. Exercise parameters such as peak oxygen consumption or achieved maximum load remained unchanged, whereas recovery parameters including heart rate (HR) recovery during 2 minutes and the delay of peak HR, which are influenced by parasympathetic activity, improved significantly during post-HTx 2 years (P < 0.05 for both). HR variability was analysed at post-HTx 6 months in 18 recipients, and high frequency power, representing parasympathetic activity, was significantly associated with the 2 recovery parameters (P < 0.05 for all). We also assessed quality of life using the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure (HF) Questionnaire at post-HTx 6 months and 2 years in the same 18 recipients, and those with improved recovery parameters enjoyed a better HF-specific quality of life (P < 0.05 for both). In conclusion, parasympathetic reinnervation emerges along with improved post-exercise recovery ability of HR and quality of life during post-HTx 2 years.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine