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Exercise of benefit for SLE patients — study

SLE is associated with accelerated mortality, which is frequently attributable to cardiovascular (CV) causes, not fully explained by traditional CV risk factors. 

Individuals with SLE are commonly sedentary, with many perceived barriers to exercise. 

Mr Tom O’Dwyer of the Physiotherapy Department in Trinity College Dublin made a presentation to the Meeting about the findings of a meta-analysis he was involved in to evaluate whether exercise had a deleterious effect on disease activity in SLE and assess the impact of exercise on cardio-respiratory fitness and fatigue. 

The systematic review was conducted, including quasi-randomised and randomised controlled trials in SLE, comparing at least one exercise group to controls. 

Studies were retrieved by searching MEDLINE/PubMed, EMBASE, PEDro, AMED, CINAHL and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for keywords and medical subject headings relating to SLE and exercise. 

The search strategy produced 2,980 records, while titles and abstracts screening identified 30 full texts for eligibility appraisal. 

Of these, seven were suitable for inclusion in the meta-analysis.

“This meta-analysis demonstrates that exercise significantly improves cardiorespiratory fitness and disease-related fatigue in individuals with SLE, without adversely affecting disease activity,” according to the authors.

“This review suggests that exercise may be safely prescribed in this population. Longitudinal studies examining the effects of exercise on CV risk factors in this population are recommended, based on the promising findings of this meta-analysis.”

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