Investigating the effectiveness and feasibility of exercise on microvascular reactivity and quality of life in systemic sclerosis patients: study protocol for a feasibility study

MITROPOULOS, Alexandros, GUMBER, Anil, CRANK, Helen, AKIL, Mohammed and KLONIZAKIS, Markos (2018). Investigating the effectiveness and feasibility of exercise on microvascular reactivity and quality of life in systemic sclerosis patients: study protocol for a feasibility study. Trials, 19, p. 647.

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Background: Raynaud’s phenomenon is one of the first clinical manifestations observed in systemic sclerosis (SSc). This microvasculature disorder affects mostly the digits in over 95% of SSc patients, significantly affecting their healthrelated quality of life (HRQoL) and incurring higher hospital admissions and other healthcare costs. Exercise is known to improve both micro- and macrovascular function – aerobic exercise and resistance training, separately or combined, have been demonstrated to lead to significant vasculo-physiological improvements in conditions that present vasculopathy. However, the effects of a combined exercise programme on microcirculation in SSc patients has yet to be investigated. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to assess the effects of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) combined with circuit resistance training on the microvascular function in the digital area of SSc patients. Methods: This will be a randomised controlled, feasibility trial with two arms, wherein 30 patients with SSc in receipt of medical treatment will be randomly assigned to usual care (medical treatment) or to a 12-week supervised exercise programme. Patients in the exercise group will undertake two, 45-min sessions each week consisting of 30 min HIIT (30 s 100% peak power output/30 s passive recovery) on the arm crank ergometer and 15 min of upper body circuit resistance training. Patients will be assessed before as well as at 3 and 6 months following randomisation. Primary outcomes of the study will be recruitment and retention rate, intervention acceptability and adherence to the exercise programme. Secondary outcomes include the digital area cutaneous microvascular function (laser Doppler fluximetry combined with iontophoresis), physical fitness, functional ability, upper back transcutaneous oxygen tension, body composition and quality of life (EQ-5D-5L). Selected interviews with a subsample of patients will be undertaken to explore their experiences of having Raynaud’s phenomenon and the acceptability of the exercise intervention and study procedures. Discussion: Data from this study will be used to identify the feasibility of a combined exercise programme to be implemented in SSc patients, the acceptability of the intervention and the study design, and to determine the effects of exercise on the microvasculature. Overall, this study will provide sufficient data to inform and support a full multicentre clinical trial.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1102 Cardiovascular Medicine And Haematology; 1103 Clinical Sciences; Cardiovascular System & Hematology; General & Internal Medicine
Identification Number:
Page Range: p. 647
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2018 14:44
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 01:16

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