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Effects of blood flow restriction exercise on hemostasis: a systematic review of randomized and non-randomized trials

Authors Nascimento DDC, Petriz B, Oliveira SDC, Vieira DCL, Funghetto SS, Silva AO, Prestes J

Received 16 November 2018

Accepted for publication 24 December 2018

Published 12 February 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 91—100

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJGM.S194883

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Justinn Cochran

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Video abstract presented by Dahan da Cunha Nascimento.

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Dahan da Cunha Nascimento,1,2 Bernardo Petriz,2 Samuel da Cunha Oliveira,1 Denis Cesar Leite Vieira,2,3 Silvana Schwerz Funghetto,4 Alessandro Oliveira Silva,5,6 Jonato Prestes1

1Graduate Program in Physical Education, Catholic University of Brasilia (UCB), Brasilia, Brazil; 2Department of Physical Education, University Center of the Federal District (UDF), Brasilia, Brazil; 3Department of Physical Education, University of Brasilia (UNB), Brasilia, Brazil; 4Department of Nursing, University of Brasilia (UNB), Brasilia, Brazil; 5Department of Medicine and Physical Education, University Center of Brasilia (UniCEUB), Brasilia, Brazil; 6Department of Medicine and Physical Education, Integrated Colleges of the Central Plateau Educational Union (FACIPLAC), Brasilia, Brazil

Background: Blood flow restriction (BFR) exercise has shown to induce a positive influence on bone metabolism and attenuate muscle strength loss and atrophy in subjects suffering from musculoskeletal weakness. Despite the known benefits of BFR exercise, it remains unclear whether or not the pressurization of blood vessels damages the endothelial cells or increases risk for formation of thrombi. Thus, the effects of BFR exercise on coagulation, fibrinolysis, or hemostasis, remains speculative.
Objective: The aim of the present study was to perform a systematic review of the short and long- term effects of BFR exercise on blood hemostasis in healthy individuals and patients with known disease (ie, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and ischemic heart disease).
Data Sources: A systematic review of English and non-English articles was conducted across PubMed, Science Direct, and Google Scholar databases, including reference lists of relevant papers. Study quality assessment was evaluated using the modified version of Downs and Black checklist. Search results were limited to exercise training studies investigating the effects of BFR exercise on blood hemostasis in healthy individuals and patients with disease. Level of evidence was determined according to the criteria described by Oxford Center for Evidence-Based Medicine. 
Study selection: Only randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and non-randomized controlled trials (NRCTs) that examined the effects of exercise with BFR exercise vs exercises without BFR on blood hemostasis in healthy individuals and patients were included.
Data extraction: Nine studies were eligible (RCT =4; NRCT =5).
Results: The average score on the Downs and Black checklist was 11.22. All studies were classified as having poor methodological quality wherein the level of evidence provided in all reviewed studies was level IIb only (ie, poor quality RCTs).
Conclusion: Considering the limitations in the available evidence, firm recommendations cannot be provided.

Keywords: exercise, hemostasis, vascular occlusion, blood flow restriction, coagulation system, Kaatsu training



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