The utility of whole body vibration exercise in haemodialysis patients: A pilot study

Arthur Doyle (Lead / Corresponding author), Karen Chalmers, David J. Chinn, Fiona McNeill, Nicola Dall, Christopher H. Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Exercise improves physical capacity in patients with end-stage renal disease on haemodialysis (HD), but few patients engage in it. Whole-body vibration exercise (WBVE) is a novel protocol that has been shown to benefit frail elderly patients' rehabilitation. We assessed the utility of WBVE before HD sessions and tested methods to inform the design of a randomized controlled trial (RCT). 

Methods: Physical condition and quality of life were assessed at enrolment and repeated 2 weeks later in a pilot study of 49 patients undergoing regular HD. All patients then undertook 8 weeks of WBVE, thrice weekly for 3 min, after which the assessments were repeated and results compared (paired t-tests). Further assessments were made after a 4-week layoff. Patients completed a post-study questionnaire about their experiences of using WBVE. The reproducibility of WBVE and effects on measures of functionality, muscle strength, indirect exercise capacity, nutritional status, bone health and quality of life were recorded to undertake a power calculation for an RCT. 

Results: Of 49 patients enrolled, 25 completed all assessments. The dropout rate was high at 49%, but overall, WBVE was an acceptable form of exercise. Functionality as assessed by the 60-s sit-to-stand test (STS-60) improved significantly by 11% (P=0.002). Some quality of life domains also improved significantly. All improvements were maintained 4 weeks after discontinuing WBVE. 

Conclusions: WBVE was acceptable, safe, easily incorporated into the routine of HD and was associated with useful improvements in physical function sufficient to justify a RCT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)822-829
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Kidney Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • chronic renal failure
  • exercise
  • haemodialysis
  • physical activity
  • quality of life
  • vibration exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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