Physical functioning in end-stage renal disease patients: update 2005

Hemodial Int. 2005 Jul;9(3):218-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1492-7535.2005.01136.x.


Physical functioning in patients with end-stage renal disease treated with dialysis is low, whether measured using objective laboratory measures, physical performance testing, or self-reported measures. Peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), self-reported functioning measures, and physical activity levels are independent predictors of mortality in these patients. Cardiovascular exercise training studies result in improvements in VO2peak, physical performance tests, and self-reported functioning. Resistance exercise training improves muscle strength. Exercise training may have positive benefits on other factors that are important clinical issues in dialysis patients, including cardiovascular risk profile, oxidative stress, and inflammation. Endothelial function, a surrogate marker of atherosclerosis, has been shown to improve with exercise training in dialysis patients. Although there have been numerous recent studies on benefits of exercise, few dialysis clinics or nephrologists provide encouragement or programs as a part of their routine care of their patients. There are many national guidelines that include exercise or increasing physical activity as a part of the treatment of many conditions that are relevant in dialysis patients, including hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and high cardiovascular disease risk. The nephrology community continues to state concern for outcomes; however, a simple, low-tech intervention that has many benefits to their patients (i.e., encouragement, recommendations, and opportunity for increasing physical activity) has not been adopted as part of the standard care. Adoption of routine counseling and encouragement for physical activity has the potential to improve outcomes, improve physical functioning, and optimize quality of life and overall health of dialysis patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Renal Dialysis


  • C-Reactive Protein