Ongoing Research Funded by DHF

Personalized Exercise Program Improves Survival Rate in Liver Transplant Patients

Principal Investigator: Daniela P. Ladner, MD, MPH, Interim Director, Comprehensive Transplant Center; Professor of Surgery (Organ Transplantation) and Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Patients with poor physical conditioning who are diagnosed with cirrhosis frequently experience worse outcomes before and after receiving a liver transplant. Exercise helps reduce frailty and leads to better outcomes, but patients face a variety of financial and logistical barriers to the regular physical activity needed to maintain strength. Additionally, transplant teams often expect patients to optimize their physical health on their own with little guidance. The Ladner research team seeks to optimize patient outcomes through a practical and affordable approach to enhance physical conditioning in the pre- and post-liver transplant setting. The researchers are developing a simple and cost-effective intervention called LIFT (Liver FrailTY), which will include a full in-person strength assessment, an exercise program with smart phone guidance, and remote coaching. Regular and frequent check-ins will be essential to encouraging patients to achieve recommended levels of exercise. Dr. Ladner’s study will then measure the impact of LIFT on strength as well as on positive clinical outcomes, such as increased survival and fewer hospitalizations for patients facing liver cirrhosis.

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