Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality rates are greatly elevated in chronic kidney disease patients receiving maintenance haemodialysis therapy. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of intradialytic endurance exercise training on novel risk factors that may contribute to this excessive CVD risk.
Methods: Seventeen haemodialysis patients were randomized to either an intradialytic exercise training (cycling) group (EX; n = 8) or a non-exercising control group (CON; n = 9) for 4 months. At baseline and following the intervention, we measured serum parameters related to CVD risk and renal function, used echocardiography to measure variables related to cardiac structure and function and assessed physical performance by a validated shuttle walk test.
Results: Performance on the shuttle walk test increased by 17% in EX (P < 0.05), but did not change in CON. There was no change in serum lipids or inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein, interleukin-6) in either group. Serum thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, a marker of oxidative stress, were reduced by 38% in EX (P < 0.05), but did not change in CON. In addition, serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP), a putative risk factor for vascular calcification, was reduced by 27% in EX (P < 0.05), but did not change in CON. There was no change in left atrial volume, left ventricular mass or myocardial performance index in either group. However, the thickness of the epicardial fat layer was reduced by 11% in EX (P < 0.05), but did not change in CON. Furthermore, the change in physical performance was inversely correlated to the change in epicardial fat (r = -0.63; P = 0.03).
Conclusions: These results suggest that endurance exercise training may improve CVD risk in haemodialysis patients by decreasing novel risk factors including serum oxidative stress, ALP and epicardial fat.