Translational Research Project Grant

Dr Nicolette Bishop, Loughborough University and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Amount: £147,805

Summary: A kidney transplant can transform the life of someone with kidney failure, but these patients have a high risk of heart disease which can damage their new kidney and stop them living life to the full. Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for everyone and can lower the risk of heart disease, but there are no exercise guidelines designed specifically for kidney transplant patients. Recent research by this team has shown that these patients want to become active in an enjoyable way, but they’re not sure how much and what type of exercise is best for them and they are worried about ‘overdoing it’ or damaging their new kidney.

This study will assess the suitability of three different exercise programmes for kidney transplant patients. All three programmes are known to help lower heart disease risk, but we don’t know which will be most effective for people with a kidney transplant and which of the programmes the patients will like best.


Patients will take part in one of the exercise programmes, all of which will be done three times each week for eight weeks, in state-of-the-art gym facilities at Loughborough University. Two of the exercise programmes involve alternating short bursts of high and low intensity exercise, which is known as High Intensity Intermittent Exercise or HIIT. For HIIT Programme 1, patients will do four bouts of four minutes high intensity with three minutes low intensity exercise in between. For HIIT Programme 2, patients will do a mixture of four, two and one minute high intensity bouts with two minutes of low intensity exercise in between. Both of these programmes last for 30 minutes per session. The third exercise programme is a steady brisk walk for 45 minutes per session.


Before patients start their exercise programme, they will have a series of tests of fitness and heart health, and answer questions about their quality of life and general health. These tests will be repeated at the end of the eight week exercise programme, and at the conclusion, patients will be asked for their opinions of the exercise programmes and about their experience of taking part.


This study will give us vital information on the willingness of patients to start each of these different exercise programmes, whether they manage to do three sessions a week, and whether they will stick at it for eight weeks. This will help the team to choose the most suitable exercise programme for kidney transplant patients, so they can then go on to do a larger study to find out how effective the chosen exercise programme is for lowering heart disease risk. In the long term this work will help to develop safe and effective exercise guidelines that transplant patients will be able to include as part of a healthy lifestyle. Dan, a participant of the study, has written his first hand account on his blog, ‘Pedalling to Paris with PKD.’ Read the latest post here.

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