American Society of Nephrology Annual Meeting
American Society of Nephrology Annual Meeting
December 13, 2019
1 min read

Exercise improves QoL but not cognitive function in older patients on dialysis

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Khin N. Chan

WASHINGTON — Health-related quality of life in elderly patients on dialysis improved after home-based exercise training, but cognition was unaffected, according to findings presented at ASN Kidney Week.

“We really feel like there should be something to improve their health, quality of life and muscle strength,” study co-author Khin N. Chan, MD, MS, a health research scientist at Veterans’ Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System and Stanford University, told in an interview. “So, we designed this trial to provide that home-based exercise and aerobic and resistance training.”

Researchers conducted a study on 28 elderly patients (aged 66 + 7 years) on maintenance hemodialysis to evaluate the effects of home-based exercise training on the improvement of kidney disease quality of life (KDQoL), psychosocial aspects and cognitive function. Researchers analyzed patients’ bodily pain, general health, mental health, physical function, role physical and emotional and vitality as psychosocial components. KDQoL components were evaluated as burden of the disease, symptoms, effects of the disease in daily life and mental and physical component scores. For the evaluation after exercise training, patients were assessed through cognitive function tests for general cognition, executive function, memory and verbal learning.

The results showed exercise patients improved in general health. In KDQoL measures, there was a significant improvement after exercise training in symptoms and the effect of the disease in daily life for patients. Exercise training did not show significant differences in cognitive ability in patients who exercised compared to patients who received usual care.

“The take-home message is that home-based exercise training can improve general psychosocial metrics and CKD-specific health-related quality of life but did not affect the cognition of the elderly dialysis patients,” Chan said.

Chan said implementation of this exercise program in practice is doable and that physicians should make sure that the patients “listen to you and they really do it and follow your instructions. Then, we can start to see improvement.” by Erin T. Welsh


Chan K, et al. Abstract: TH-PO1194. Presented at: ASN Kidney Week; Nov. 5-10, 2019; Washington, D.C.

Disclosure: Chan reports no relevant financial disclosures.