Characteristics and Frequency of Physical Activity and Exercise-Related Side Effects in People Receiving Peritoneal Dialysis

Brett Tarca, Shilpanjali Jesudason, Paul N. Bennett, Thomas P. Wycherley, Katia E. Ferrar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: People receiving peritoneal dialysis may receive health benefits from physical activity or exercise. However, on-going uncertainty and fear regarding safety may result in this population missing out on the health benefits of participation. The aim of this study was to explore the characteristics and frequency of physical activity and/or exercise-related side effects (e.g., symptoms such as pain or shortness of breath) and negative health events (e.g., stroke or hyper/hypoglycemia) experienced by people receiving peritoneal dialysis. 

Methods: An international online survey involving adults receiving peritoneal dialysis was conducted with questions related to nature, occurrence, and impact of side effects and/or negative health events experienced during or soon after participation in physical activity or exercise. 

Results: Fifty-two people completed the survey reporting 151 side effects that were related to physical activity and exercise and 67 that were possibly related. Fatigue (58% of respondents), muscle/joint soreness or pain (54%), and dizziness (43%) were the most frequently reported side-effect types. The majority occurred occasionally (58% of all side effects), if not rarely (24%) and participation in on-going physical activity or exercise was typically prevented only occasionally (39%) or not at all (31%). Side effects were mainly self-managed (54% of all side effects) or did not require treatment (19%) and had low (38%) or no effect (30%) on ability to do daily activities. 

Conclusions: People receiving peritoneal dialysis generally experience side effects that can be considered a normal response to physical activity or exercise engagement. Furthermore, the risk of serious or peritoneal dialysis-specific side effects as a result of physical activity or exercise appears to be low. The results add to the emerging evidence suggesting physical activity and exercise appear to be safe for people receiving peritoneal dialysis.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Renal Nutrition
Early online date20 Dec 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Adverse events
  • exercise
  • kidney failure
  • peritoneal dialysis
  • physical activity


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