Background: Fatigue is a debilitating symptom in haemodialysis patients. Qigong presents a potentially safe modality of treatment for chronic fatigue patients but has not yet been evaluated in haemodialysis patients.
Objective: The aim of this study is to investigate whether qigong exercise affects fatigue in haemodialysis patients.
Design: A 6-month non-randomized control trial with six measurement periods was conducted. The qigong group was taught to practice qigong three times per week for six months. The control group received usual routine care. Main outcome measure Fatigue, as measured by the "Haemodialysis Patients Fatigue Scale".
Results: A total of 172 patients participated in this study, with 71 patients in the qigong group and 101 patients in the control group. The results indicated that all patients experienced mild to moderate fatigue. There was no difference between the qigong and control groups in fatigue at baseline. However, fatigue was lower in the qigong group than in the control group at 8 weeks (43.5 vs. 53.9), 12 weeks (44.7 vs. 53.6), 16 weeks (43.2 vs. 50.8), 20 weeks (42 vs. 50.2), and 24 weeks (41.4 vs. 48.4). The results, based on the generalized estimating equation method, showed that fatigue was significantly lower in the qigong group than in the control group (odds ratio=0.004, p=0.005).
Conclusion: Fatigue in the qigong group showed a continuous decrease, which was maintained until the end of data collection at 24 weeks. Thus, qigong presents a potentially effective and safe method to reduce fatigue in haemodialysis patients.
Keywords: End-stage renal disease; Fatigue; Haemodialysis; Qigong.
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