Pediatric recipients of life-saving organ transplants are living longer, with improved graft and overall survivals. After successful transplant, children are encouraged to return to “normal life,” with school attendance and participation in age-appropriate physical activities. This transition may cause stress to the recipients, parents, teachers, and other participating caregivers and staff. Planning for school reentry and assuring education for and open lines of communication with the school staff can help alleviate some of this discomfort and ease the process for the patient and the family. Cardiovascular disease has emerged as the leading cause of death in survivors of pediatric transplantation and is contributed to by modifiable risk factors such as obesity, hypertension, and the MS. Physical activity is a proven tool in decreasing surrogate markers of this risk. Sports participation is an important way to promote an enjoyment of physical activity that can ideally persist into adulthood, but conflicting advice and opinions exist regarding type and participation in physical activity. Moreover, specific recommendations are likely not applicable to all recipients, as certain degrees of rehabilitation may be needed depending on degree and length of illness. In general, a program of rehabilitation and increased physical activity has been shown to be safe and effective for most pediatric transplant recipients. Focusing on optimizing the “normal” childhood activities of going to school and participating in sports can improve the physical, social, cognitive, and mental health outcomes of this population after transplant and should be prioritized.
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References

PubMed