One of our many collaborations is the PEDAL trial, with around 50 specially designed stationary exercise bikes for hospitals in the UK. Kidney dialysis patients can exercise while they are being treated, which improves their mobility, health and quality of life. The patients are monitored throughout and the results form an important part of the study on chronic kidney disease.

Impact of intradialytic exercise on arterial compliance and B-type natriuretic peptide levels in hemodialysis patients

PEDAL is a four-year clinical trial looking to determine whether intra-dialytic exercise training improves health related quality of life in kidney patients receiving maintenance haemodialysis (HD) renal replacement therapy. Led by Professor Iain Macdougall (King’s College Hospital, London), the trial aims to involve 380 patients across 6 renal units in the UK. The PEDAL trial started recruiting patients in January 2015 and, to date, there are 146 patients participating in the study. Patients who join the study are randomly allocated to one of two treatment groups – (1) Usual care maintenance renal replacement therapy, and (2) Usual care with intra-dialytic exercise.

Patients in the exercise group receive an exercise programme of thrice weekly aerobic cycle exercise for a period of 9 months, as well as twice weekly muscle conditioning exercise. The delivery of the aerobic exercise uses an ergometer that has been specially modified for use whilst patients are seated on their dialysis chair or couch. Patients are thus able to pedal this modified stationary exercise bike whilst seated during their dialysis therapy.

The aim is to test whether this additional treatment option benefits haemodialysis patients in terms of their general well-being and quality of life and also if it benefits physical function and ability to participate in daily activities, like walking and rising from a chair. The study also hopes to examine what affects an intradialytic exercise programme may have on other aspects that may be important to the health of HD patients (for example blood pressure), as well as examine whether this type of additional treatment option is cost effective within the health service setting.