Frailty Intervention Trial iN End-Stage patientS on haemodialysis (FITNESS): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Benjamin Anderson, Mary Dutton, Ed Day, Thomas Jackson, Charles J Ferro, Adnan Sharif

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BACKGROUND: Frailty is a state of low physiological reserve and multi-systemic dysregulation that leads to susceptibility to external stressors; it is associated with adverse outcomes. North American data suggest that haemodialysis recipients are more likely to be frail than the general population, although data on UK cohorts are lacking. Furthermore, with a multitude of assessment tools, it is difficult for the clinician to ascertain which is most suitable for this population. The FITNESS Study aims to measure the prevalence and outcomes associated with frailty in a large UK haemodialysis cohort to determine the optimum frailty tool as defined by predictive value for mortality/hospitalisation and to conduct a feasibility study exploring a multi-disciplinary clinical intervention to improve frailty among haemodialysis recipients.

METHODS/DESIGN: The study will follow a cohort multiple randomised controlled trial design; the initial cohort study will identify participants to be invited into a subsequent open-label randomised controlled trial. Eligible patients will be identified and recruited from their usual haemodialysis session. They will be invited to complete tasks and questionnaires collecting data on sarcopenia, immunosenescence, mood, cognition, disability, and comorbidity. Fifty pre-frail participants with suitable English proficiency will be randomly selected from this cohort to participate in the randomised controlled trial phase of the study. Further stratified randomisation will occur to assign these 50 participants to active or passive groups. The active group will receive a psychologically supported, patient-centred, multi-disciplinary intervention into frailty, in what we believe to be a first within this patient group. The control group will receive usual haemodialysis standard of care. All participants will be followed up using electronic patient records for outcomes to include hospitalisation and mortality. Primary outcomes for this phase of the study will be feasibility and tolerability of the clinical intervention study.

DISCUSSION: The study will collect data on multiple aspects of frailty allowing for a rich dataset for detailed analysis. We believe this will be the first study to explore a psychologically supported, patient-centred intervention in this patient group.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:, NCT03071107 . Registered on 6 March 2017.

Original languageEnglish
Article number457
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2018


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