Accelerometer-measured physical activity and functional behaviours among people on dialysis



The feasibility of wrist-worn accelerometers, and the patterns and determinants of physical activity, among people on dialysis are uncertain.

People on maintenance dialysis were fitted with a wrist-worn AxivityAX3 accelerometer. Subsets also wore a 14-day electrocardiograph patch (Zio®PatchXT) and wearable cameras. Age-, sex- and season-matched UK Biobank control groups were derived for comparison.

There were 101 participants who have been wearing an accelerometer for 12.5 days on average, of which 73 participants (mean age 66.5 years) had excellent wear on both dialysis and non-dialysis days. Mean overall physical activity levels were 15.5 (0.7) milligravity units (mg), 14.8 (0.7) mg on dialysis days versus 16.2 (0.8) mg on non-dialysis days. Which means that activity level was higher on non-dialysis days. This compared with 28.1 (0.5) mg for apparently healthy controls, 23.4 (0.4) mg for controls with prior cardiovascular disease and/or diabetes mellitus and 22.9 (0.6) mg for heart failure controls. Each day, we estimated that those on dialysis spent an average of about 1 hour (h/day) walking, 0.6 h/day engaging in moderate-intensity activity, 0.7 h/day on light tasks, 13.2 h/day sedentary and 8.6 h/day asleep. Older age and self-reported leg weakness were associated with decreased levels of physical activity, but the presence of prior CVD, arrhythmias and listing for transplantation were not.

Conclusions: Wrist-worn accelerometers are an acceptable and reliable method to measure physical activity in people on dialysis and may also be used to estimate functional behaviours. Among people on dialysis, who are broadly half as active as general population controls, age and leg weakness appear to be more important determinants of low activity levels than CVD.


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