Background. Physical exercise is a health intervention in the treatment of numerous chronic diseases. In patients on hemodialysis, physical exercise has been introduced during hemodialysis for different outcomes. Several meta-analyses show uncertainty about the effects.
Objective. Our systematic review and meta-analysis aim at summarizing and evaluating the evidence of the effects of physical exercise on cardiovascular endurance and functional capacity of hemodialysis patients.
Results. Five studies were included in the review (462 patients). Physical exercise brought an improvement in cardiovascular endurance and functional capacity (MD, 95%CI:62.24 [18.71, 105.77], p=0.005), compared to the control group. Most trials were at high risk of bias due to lack of blinding between the patients and the personnel, and between the patients and the outcome assessor.
Conclusions. Physical exercise may have beneficial effect on cardiovascular endurance and functional capacity in hemodialysis patients. The quality of evidence is low and the strength of recommendations is weak for cardiovascular endurance. Future studies should consider a power analysis for an adequate sample size and minimize the risk of sample bias. Further research should provide the additional results required for an acceptable estimate of the effects of physical exercises in hemodialysis patients.
Keywords: physical exercise, hemodialysis, cardiovascular endurance, functional capacity, systematic review, meta-analysis