Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Improving cardiorespiratory fitness prior to hematopoietic cell transplantation

Can cardiorespiratory fitness prior to hematopoietic cell transplantation be improved and will this limit morbidity and mortality following transplantation?

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Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

HCT is associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality from transplant-related complications. Reduction in transplant-related mortality would lead to more favorable risk/benefit assessments for the ability of transplant to cure life-threatening hematologic disorders including non-malignant conditions. Comorbidity and patient-reported functional status impairment are known to increase the risk for transplant-related mortality. Single institution studies suggest that cardiorespiratory fitness may serve a similar role as a predictive pre-transplant variable. Unlike comorbidity, cardiorespiratory fitness is potentially modifiable. However, the optimal way to improve cardiorespiratory fitness through pre-transplant exercise and lifestyle interventions is not known. Understanding how to improve cardiorespiratory fitness through a short term intervention would also benefit other health conditions relevant to the NHLBI in which future treatment is intensive and associated with significant risk.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Understanding how to improve cardiorespiratory fitness in a short period of time will require a research agenda that addresses the following challenges: how to measure cardiorespiratory fitness in a generalized and scalable way, which may or may not require maximal exercise testing for all participants; how to design intensive exercise interventions that are at least partially home-based, in order to minimize resource burden on patients and centers; and how to personalize intervention delivery and testing in a way that is tailored to the baseline fitness levels and capabilities of each participant. Meeting these challenges will enable large-scale, personalized exercise testing and intervention delivery in other non-transplant populations.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : William Wood, Thomas Shea

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Idea No. 554