Effect of Aerobic Exercise Training on Fatigue in Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Meta-Analysis
SourceArthritis Care & Research, 67, 8, (2015), pp. 1054-1062
Article / Letter to editor
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Arthritis Care & Research
SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 3: Disorders of movement DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience; Radboudumc 5: Inflammatory diseases RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
OBJECTIVE: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) fatigue is not being well-managed currently, and evidence of effective interventions is limited. Aerobic exercise may provide benefit to treat fatigue in RA. Therefore, the purpose of this meta-analysis is to analyze the effect of aerobic land-based exercise on fatigue in RA. METHODS: A literature search was conducted using PubMed, Cochrane Library, Embase, and trial registers to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with a supervised land-based aerobic exercise program performed with an intensity between 50% and 90% of maximal heart rate, of at least 15 minutes' duration, performed at least 2 times a week, and lasting for a time period of at least 4 consecutive weeks. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane tool. A meta-analysis of fatigue outcomes was performed by calculating the standardized mean difference (SMD) using a random-effects model. RESULTS: Five RCTs were included. None of the trials selected patients with RA for having fatigue. Risk of bias was low in 3 RCTs and unclear in 2. Land-based aerobic exercise programs had a positive effect on fatigue in RA compared to no exercise at 12 weeks, SMD -0.31 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] -0.55, -0.06). At 24 weeks, the effect of aerobic land-based exercise was smaller and not statistically significant: SMD -0.15 (95% CI -0.33, 0.02). CONCLUSION: There is evidence with low risk of bias that an aerobic exercise program is effective in reducing fatigue among patients with RA, especially in the short term; however, effects are small. To substantiate the evidence, RCTs should be performed in patients with RA selected for having fatigue.
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