Vibration exercise improves physical function in dialysis patients
Whole-body vibration exercise (WBVE) is acceptable and safe, yielding useful improvements in physical function in patients undergoing routine haemodialysis, according to the results of a prospective pilot study.
A total of 49 end-stage renal disease patients (mean age 65 years; 55 percent male) underwent 8 weeks of WBVE (three 3-minute sessions per week) conducted before receiving dialysis. Prior to the intervention, physical condition and quality of life (QoL) were evaluated at baseline and at week 2 thereafter. A further evaluation was performed at week 4 after completion of the exercise programme to estimate any residual effects.
Of the patients, only 25 completed all assessments, with a dropout rate of 49 percent. Compared with those who remained in the programme, those who dropped out were likely to be older and frailer. Despite the high dropout rate, WBVE was found to be an acceptable form of exercise overall.
Among those who completed the assessments, functionality (as evaluated using the 60-second sit-to-stand test) improved significantly by 11 percent (p=0.002). Several quality of life domains, such as health overall and symptoms listed, similarly increased. All improvements persisted 4 weeks after discontinuing WBVE.
A novel exercise protocol that has been shown to benefit rehabilitation of frail elderly patients, WBVE is designed to prevent the loss of muscle strength and bone mineralization during the immobility and weightlessness of space flight. The intervention involves high-frequency vibration of muscle groups, causing positive feedback of the spinal reflex arc and resulting in high levels of muscle contraction to motor unit recruitment otherwise only achievable by heavy weightlifting. Physiological benefits derived from vibration exercise include bone health and muscle strength. [Eur J Appl Physiol 2010;108:877–904; Med Sci Sports Exerc 2007;39:694–700; Osteoporos Int 2010;21:597–607; Disabil Rehabil 2012;34:883–893]
The present data demonstrate that WBVE has the convenience of being applied in short bursts while patients attend hospitals for dialysis sessions, researchers said.
“Overall, WBVE was acceptable and safe, though we acknowledge there can be practical issues for some patients using the devices and the modality is not suitable for all patients. Further research is justified; if it can be shown that WBVE has utility in improving physical functioning and long-term outcomes, then the exercise modality could be incorporated into routine practice,” they added.