With Exercise to Cleaner Blood

Patient Sylvia Ruttan exercising with
a stationary bike during her dialysis
© Queen's University

A five-month, low-intensity exercise intervention study of dialysis patients was recently carried out by Rehabilitation Therapy professor Cheryl King-VanVlack, member of the Cardiac, Circulation and Respiratory (CCR) group at Queen's University.

Results of the study show that exercise during the process of dialysis increases by 20 per cent the removal of urea, one of the toxins collected in the body between dialysis sessions. This indicates that exercise during dialysis can enhance the treatment.

The study also suggests that physical function and stamina for the participants increases with the increased rate of toxin removal. During six-minute walk tests at weeks one, ten and 20 of the study, the distance participants walked each time increased substantially. “Enhanced dialysis efficacy over the long term may reduce the toxic effects of the ‘uremic’ syndrome, which refers to a myriad of complications associated with renal failure,” says King-VanVlack. “Patients undergoing haemodialysis may have fewer complications, enhanced physical function and better quality of life by regular participation in an intra-dialytic exercise program.”

Participants in this study exercised three times a week on stationary exercise bikes or mini-steppers placed in front of their dialysis chairs, for 30 minutes in each of the first two hours of dialysis.

Blood flow through the tissue is increased when exercise using lower extremity muscles allows capillaries to open up more to provide a greater surface area for exchange of substances from tissue to blood, researchers say. The increased blood flow moves more toxins from tissue to blood during dialysis for subsequent removal at the dialyser. The overall result is a greater removal of toxins in a given dialysis session or enhanced dialysis efficacy.

MEDICA.de; Source: Queen’s University