Effect of exercise training on estimated GFR, vascular health, and cardiorespiratory fitness in patients with CKD: a pilot randomized controlled trial

Sharlene A Greenwood, Pelagia Koufaki, Thomas H Mercer, Helen L MacLaughlin, Robert Rush, Herolin Lindup, Ellen O'Connor, Christopher Jones, Bruce M Hendry, Iain C Macdougall, Hugh S Cairns
American Journal of Kidney Diseases: the Official Journal of the National Kidney Foundation 2015, 65 (3): 425-34

BACKGROUND: Exercise capacity, which is predictive of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease risk, is reduced significantly in patients with non-dialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease. This pilot study examined the effect of moderate-intensity exercise training on kidney function and indexes of cardiovascular risk in patients with progressive chronic kidney disease stages 3 to 4.

STUDY DESIGN: Single-blind, randomized, controlled, parallel trial.

SETTING & PARTICIPANTS: 20 patients (aged 18-80 years; 17 men) randomly assigned to rehabilitation (n=10) or usual care (n=10). Participants were included if they were 18 years or older and had evidence of rate of decline in creatinine-based estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFRcr)≥2.9mL/min/1.73m(2) per year for 12 months preintervention. Patients were excluded if they had unstable medical conditions or had recently started regular exercise.

INTERVENTION: The rehabilitation group received resistance and aerobic training (3 days per week) for a 12-month period. The usual care group received standard care.

OUTCOMES: Kidney function assessed by comparing mean rate of change in eGFRcr (mL/min/1.73m(2) per year) from a 12-month preintervention period against the 12-month intervention period. Pulse wave velocity (PWV), peak oxygen uptake (Vo2peak), and waist circumference assessed at 0, 6, and 12 months.

MEASUREMENTS: eGFR assessed using creatinine, cystatin C (eGFRcys), and a combination of both values (eGFRcr-cys).

RESULTS: 18 participants (rehabilitation, 8; usual care, 10) completed the study. A significant mean difference in rate of change in eGFRcr (+7.8±3.0 [95% CI, 1.1-13.5] mL/min/1.73m(2) per year; P=0.02) was observed between the rehabilitation and usual care groups, with the rehabilitation group demonstrating a slower decline. No significant between-group mean differences existed in absolute eGFRcr, eGFRcr-cys, or eGFRcys at 12 months of study intervention. Significant between-group mean differences existed in PWV (-2.30 [95% CI, -3.02 to -1.59] m/s), waist circumference (-7.1±12.8 [95% CI, -12.4 to -3.2] cm), and Vo2peak (5.7 [95% CI, 1.34-10.10] mL/kg/min). Change in eGFRcr was correlated inversely with PWV (r=-0.5; P=0.04) at 12 months.

LIMITATIONS: Small sample size, inconsistency between primary and secondary measures of kidney function.

CONCLUSIONS: The effect of a 1-year exercise intervention on progression of kidney disease is inconclusive. A larger study with longer follow-up may be necessary.

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