A systematic review of nonrandomized controlled trials on the curative effects of aquatic exercise
Hiroharu Kamioka1, Kiichiro Tsutani2, Yoshiteru Mutoh3, Hiroyasu Okuizum4, Miho Ohta5, Shuichi Handa4, Shinpei Okada6, Jun Kitayuguchi7, Masamitsu Kamada7, Nobuyoshi Shiozawa8, Sang-Jun Park4, Takuya Honda4, Shoko Moriyama4
1Faculty of Regional Environment Science, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Tokyo, Japan; 2Department of Drug Policy and Management, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 3Department of Physical and Health Education, Graduate School of Education, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan; 4Mimaki Onsen (Spa) Clinic, Tomi City, Japan; 5Laboratory of Aqua, Health, and Sports Medicine, 6Physical Education and Medicine Research Foundation, Nagano, Japan; 7Physical Education and Medicine Research Center Unnan, Unnan City, Japan; 8Department of Longevity and Social Medicine, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama, Japan
Background: The objectives of this review were to integrate the evidence of curative effects through aquatic exercise and assess the quality of studies based on a review of nonrandomized controlled trials (nRCTs).
Methods: Study design was a systematic review of nonrandomized controlled trials. Trials were eligible if they were nonrandomized clinical trials. Studies included one treatment group in which aquatic exercise was applied. We searched the following databases from 2000 up to July 20, 2009: MEDLINE via PubMed, CINAHL, and Ichushi-Web.
Results: Twenty-one trials met all inclusion criteria. Languages included were English (N = 9), Japanese (N = 11), and Korean (N = 1). Target diseases were knee and/or hip osteoarthritis, poliomyelitis, chronic kidney disease, discomforts of pregnancy, cardiovascular diseases, and rotator cuff tears. Many studies on nonspecific disease (healthy participants) were included. All studies reported significant effectiveness in at least one or more outcomes. However results of evaluations with the TREND and CLEAR-NPT checklists generally showed a remarkable lack of description in the studies. Furthermore, there was the problem of heterogeneity, and we were therefore not able to perform a meta-analysis.
Conclusion: Because there was insufficient evidence on aquatic exercise due to poor methodological and reporting quality and heterogeneity of nRCTs, we were unable to offer any conclusions about the effects of this intervention. However, we were able to identify problems with current nRCTs of aquatic exercise, and propose a strategy of strengthening study quality, stressing the importance of study feasibility as a future research agenda objective.
Keywords: aquatic exercise, systematic review, nonrandomized controlled trials
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