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Physical function in children and adolescents pre- and 1-year post-liver transplant

Title: Physical function in children and adolescents pre- and 1-year post-liver transplant 

Source: Pediatric Transplantation 2023, 27 (6): e14573 

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Date of publication: September 2023 

Publication type: Retrospective review 

Abstract: Background: Several studies describe poorer motor developmental motor outcomes post-liver transplant (LT) in younger children. Limited studies examine physical function in older children and adolescents pre- and post-LT.

Methods: Retrospective review of standard of care physical function outcome measures pre- and 1-year post-LT in children ≥6 years at LT. Measures include: 6-minute walk test (6MWT), grip strength, Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-2 (BOT-2) components, Physical Activity Questionnaire (PAQ), and Paediatric Quality of Life Multidimensional Fatigue Scale. Association of medical variables with outcomes was explored.

Results: The study cohort included 23 (8 male, median (interquartile range) age 11.67 (8.25, 13.92) years at LT) participants. Top two primary diagnoses included biliary atresia (30.4%) and fulminant hepatic failure (21.7%). At 1-year post-LT, over one-third (36%) were overweight or obese. Compared with healthy norms, children had significantly lower pre-LT PAQ scores (p = .002), pre- and post-6MWT scores (p < .001) and post-LT BOT-2 strength and agility scores (p < .001). Pre-LT, lower balance scores were associated with abdominal distention/ascites (p = .009) and splenomegaly (p = .017). Lower pre-LT platelet count correlated with poorer balance (r = .532, p = .017) and lower strength and agility scores (r = .446, p = .043). Significant moderate inverse correlations were found between weight/body mass index z-scores and BOT-2 components. Post-LT children continue to demonstrate decreased levels of motor proficiency and functional capacity but report less fatigue and increased physical activity.

Conclusions: Older children and adolescents undergoing LT are at risk of decreased physical function, highlighting the need for pre- and post-LT rehabilitation to optimize long term outcomes.

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