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31 May 2019

Study to improve fatigue and the ability to exercise for people with chronic kidney disease gets underway

The first patient has been recruited to a three-year study looking at how intravenous (IV) iron might be able to benefit people with kidney disease.

iron and exercise

Researchers will recruit 70 people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) to the Iron and Muscle study, who are deficient in iron, but not anaemic or on dialysis, to see if giving them IV iron improves their ability to exercise, their physical ability, how their muscle functions and their quality of life.

Iron forms haemoglobin in red blood cells to carry oxygen to all the organs and tissues of the body. However, iron has other important functions, particularly in relation to how the heart and muscle work.

A lack of this important mineral, even in the absence of anaemia, may reduce exercise capacity, physical function and result in severe fatigue in people with CKD.

The study is led by Dr Sharlene Greenwood, consultant physiotherapist in renal and exercise rehabilitation at King's College Hospital and Dr Kate Bramham, clinical lecturer and consultant nephrologist. Department of Women & Children's Health. 

We are delighted to have started this hugely important trial which addresses a problem that really matters for our patients. Some of the patients in this exploratory trial will be given iron and some will be given a placebo. All patients will undertake an eight-week exercise programme. By comparing the results, we hope to find out whether giving iron to patients who are not anaemic, but have low iron levels, can improve their ability to exercise, their muscle metabolism, physical function, and fatigue levels. If successful, this could pave the way for a much larger clinical trial

Dr Sharlene Greenwood

King’s is one of seven sites involved across the UK involved in the study which also includes the Royal London, Guy’s and St George’s Hospitals in London and Epsom and St Helier, Leicester and Salford.

Kidney Research UK facilitated this academic-industry collaboration and is managing the research funding for the study, which is supported by an unrestricted grant of £1.37 million from Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma Ltd.

For further information about this study, click here