Seven months of aerobic intradialytic exercise training can prevent muscle loss in haemodialysis patients: an ultrasonography study

Argyro A. Krase, Gerasimos Terzis, Christoforos D. Giannaki, Aggeliki N. Stasinaki, Thomas J. Wilkinson, Alice C. Smith, Constantinos Zorz, Chrisitna Karatzaferi, Ioannis Stefanidis, Giorgos K. Sakkas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study aimed to evaluate the effects of 7-month intradialytic exercise training (IDE) on vastus lateralis (VL) muscle architecture, functional capacity and quality of life in stable haemodialysis (HD) patients. Methods: 44 HD patients were randomly assigned into an Exercise Group (EG = 21), which they received 7 months of IET, at 60% of pre-assessed maximum aerobic power, 3/week) or into a Control Group (CG = 23, no exercise). VL architecture was evaluated with ultrasonography, functional capacity was assessed using a series of functional tests (6 min walking test, 5 repetitions sit-to-stand, sit-to-stand 60 s, handgrip strength), and maximal aerobic power determined with a modified version of the Åstrand test. Quality of life and fatigue levels were evaluated using validated questionnaires. Results: VL fascicle angle and length did not change significantly in both groups (P > 0.05). Muscle thickness decreased in CG (P = 0.02) while it was fully preserved in the EG. Functional capacity increased only in the EG (6 min walking test 15.79 ± 12.35%, P < 0.001; max aerobic power 26.36 ± 1.24%, P < 0.001; STS-60rep: 10.23 ± 1.60%, P < 0.000; hand grip strength: 5.14 ± 28.30%, P < 0.02). Conclusion: Intradialytic aerobic exercise training, improves functional capacity and prevents thigh muscle mass loss in HD patients. It is evident that muscle ultrasonography could play a pivotal role in assessing muscle quality changes in haemodialysis patients. A higher level of training intensity or combination with resistance exercises may be required to further improve anabolism and influence muscle architecture in this patient population. Clinical Trial Registry number: NCT03905551.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Urology and Nephrology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • End-stage renal disease
  • Intradialytic exercise
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Skeletal muscle architecture


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