Physical activity for people with chronic kidney disease: An international survey of nephrologist practice patterns and research priorities

Airis Astiani Taryana, Rathika Krishnasamy, Clara Bohm, Suetonia C. Palmer, Natasha Wiebe, Neil Boudville, Jennifer MacRae, Jeff Scott Coombes, Carmel Hawley, Nicole Isbel, Stephanie Thompson

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Objectives: People with chronic kidney diseases (CKD) have identified exercise as a research priority. To inform the research agenda, we surveyed nephrologists on their practice patterns, available resources and research priorities for exercise and physical activity (PA) in CKD. Design Cross-sectional international survey. Setting: and participants 19-item electronic survey was administered to practising nephrologists with publicly available email addresses in Canada (n=354) and Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) and via newsletters for the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology (n=598). Outcomes Frequency and predictors of exercise and PA counselling in practice and research priorities. Results: 189 respondents (20% response) completed the survey. Eighty-one per cent of ANZ and 42% of Canadian respondents reported that their renal programmes did not have any exercise programmes or resources. The most frequently reported barrier for exercise programme implementation was a lack of funding (77%). Ninety per cent of respondents thought regular exercise provides 'health benefits' for all CKD stages; 59% reported that exercise counselling was within the nephrologists' scope of practice and 47% reported 'frequently' or 'always' counselling patients. In multivariable analysis, female gender (OR 2.31; 95% CI 1.16 to 4.58) and older age (OR 1.94 per age category increase; 95% CI 1.15 to 3.26) were associated with exercise counselling. Out of 194 research priorities, 65 (34%) were clinical outcomes (cardiovascular parameters) and 30% were patient-reported outcomes (quality of life). Conclusions: Most nephrologists consider exercise and PA counselling as within their scope of practice and beneficial but, due to competing priorities, do not regularly counsel patients. This suggests a need for the evaluation of effective and efficient counselling strategies and a role for the routine involvement of exercise specialists in kidney care. Cardiovascular parameters and quality of life were identified as important outcomes for future exercise trials.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere032322
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2019


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