BackgroundTo assess the impact of heart transplantation (HT) on the recovery of peripheral and respiratory muscle mass and strength in patients with congestive heart failure.MethodsThe study included 23 patients with an indication for HT (patients in the waiting list [WL] group). These patients were monitored for 1.5 to 3 years after HT; 8 died before 6 months of follow-up, 15 patients completed the early follow-up period of 6 months after HT (FU6m group), 4 died between 6 months and 3 years after HT, and 11 patients completed the late follow-up period 1.5 to 3 years after HT (FU1.5-3y group). Twenty-three healthy subjects were included in the control group. The study variables included inspiratory muscle strength, expressed as the maximum inspiratory pressure (MIP); expiratory muscle strength, expressed as the maximum expiratory pressure (MEP); peripheral muscle strength, expressed as bilateral handgrip strength (bHGS); and the cross-sectional area of the bilateral psoas major muscle (CSAbPm).ResultsThe results showed a reduction in the CSAbPm (1238.9 ± 312.3 mm2), a reduction in the bHGS (27.0 ± 5.7 kg/f), a reduction in the MIP (60.2 ± 29.8 cmH2O), and a reduction in the MEP (75.2 ± 33.4 cmH2O) in patients in the WL group compared with the healthy controls. In the time series comparison, for patients in the WL, FU6m, and FU1.5-3y groups, increases were found in the CSAbPm (1305.4 vs 1458.1 vs 1431.3 mm2, respectively), bHGS (27.3 vs 30.2 vs 34.7 kg/f, respectively), MIP (59.5 vs 85.5 vs 90.9 cmH2O, respectively), and MEP (79.5 vs 93.2 vs 101.8 cmH2O, respectively) (P < 0.00).ConclusionsSarcopenia was observed in patients in the WL group. Patients recovered peripheral and respiratory muscle mass and strength at 3 years after HT.