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As well as being a centre for treating numerous chronic medical conditions with exercise, Atrium Health is a centre for progressive research as well. Over the last several years Atrium has provided, rooms, staff and exercise expertise to several academic partners conducting clinical research trials. In addition,  Dr Gordon McGregor and Stuart Ennis are both active researchers and have co-ordinated and run research projects of their own. Dr McGregor' s long awaited High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in cardiac rehabilitation study will begin in the new year and may lead to changes in the way Cardiac Rehabilitation in this country is run. Watch this space. We at Atrium wish to be at the forefront of current developments in evidence based practice surrounding rehabilitation exercise so that our patients receive the best treatment possible.

Current Research Projects


 Project title:   The development and pilot trial of two PROgrammes of REHABilitation for cancer patients (PRO-REHAB)




 Chief Investigator: Professor Annie Young University of Warwick clinical trials unit


 Over two million people in the UK are living with and living beyond cancer: this figure is increasing. Advances in the treatment of cancer have led to improved outcomes in survival and response to treatments. However the impact of cancer on a person is varied and the illness itself, the treatments and their side effects all combine to compromise physical and psychological health and quality of life. Current follow-up arrangements do not appear to address the full range of needs that people with cancer may have.

 We are seeking to address these issues via the PRO-REHAB study which is being carried out at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire in collaboration with the Universities of Warwick and Coventry and has been funded by the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit programme. The aim is to develop and assess a home-based and a group-based rehabilitation programme (similar to cardiac rehabilitation) with and for people who have completed treatment for either breast, colorectal, head and neck, prostate or lung cancer. The interventions will be delivered mostly by allied healthcare professionals and assessed by means of a three-arm randomised pilot trial (incorporating ‘usual care’). PRO-REHAB is unique in that it will rely heavily on participant-developed interventions.

 If you have breast, colorectal, head and neck, lung or prostate cancer and would like to know more about this research or take part, please send an email to Atrium Health or follow the trial via their twitter account (see below)– a team of cancer / healthcare experts (nurses, exercise staff, psychologist, dietitian etc.,) will be on hand to answer any questions

 @PRO_REHAB_WMS on Twitter


The PRO-REHAB study




Previous Research Projects


 Project title:  Effects of continuous Electrical Muscle Stimulation on exercise capacity, physical activity and quality of life in advanced heart failure patients: a pilot study


 Chief Investigator: Dr Prithwish Banerjee Consultant cardiologist UHCW NHS Trust

 Duration: November 2013 to August 2015

 This study used a unique low frequency technology for stimulating muscle artificially, using electrodes embedded in a pair of tight fitting straps. While EMS has been available for many years, this particular technique of creating shivering-type vibration of the muscle is unique and can elicit an increase in heart rate with good tolerance.


Earlier studies using this form of LF-EMS were beneficial in healthy adults and patients with moderate heart failure. (Banerjee, 2005, 2009).The main aim of this pilot study was to determine whether wearing the LF-EMS straps regularly was tolerable and practical for severe CHF patients and whether there was potential for enhancing their general level of physical activity with its associated health benefits. It has collected data to inform a subsequent RCT to formally determine the effectiveness of the intervention in this patient group.  Two Atrium Exercise physiologists were on the research team for this study with a third funded to facilitate the study at Atrium. Together they were responsible for carrying out all aspects of the trial from study design through to recruitment, testing and analysis. The study findings will be published in 2016


Trial Participant using the EMS straps 



Project title:  Kidney disease mediated cardiac and skeletal muscle impairment: effects of dynamic exercise training and low frequency electrical muscle stimulation during haemodialysis; a pilot study


 Chief Investigator: Dr Gordon McGregor UHCW NHS Trust and Atrium Director of Research

 Duration: March 2014 to September 2015

 Dynamic intradialytic exercise and/or Electrical Muscle Stimulation may be promising therapeutic interventions. An understanding of the potential cardiac and skeletal muscle adaptation to these interventions was required to quantify the impact in Chronic Kidney Disease on dialysis.

 This pilot study involving 60 dialysis patients from the surrounding area was funded by the West Midlands Comprehensive Local Research Network.  It assessed the effects of dynamic intradialytic exercise training and intradialytic LF-EMS on cardiac and skeletal muscle function with structural and functional measures. The study is currently being written up and will be published in 2016


 Project Title:   Physical activity programmes for community dwelling people with mild to moderate dementia (DAPA – Dementia And Physical Activity)


Chief Investigator: Professor Sally Lamb, University of Warwick clinical trials unit

Duration: January 2013 to July 2015

 Does a programme of exercise and physical activity improve cognition for people with mild to moderate dementia?

 The DAPA trial ran at a number of venues including the Centre for Exercise and Health. The trial aimed to investigate whether a specialised programme of exercise and physical activity had an effect on the memory and understanding of people with mild to moderate dementia when compared to usual care. The principal outcome measure was the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognition (ADAS-cog), alongside the Bristol Activities of Daily Living scale, with other measures looking at quality of life, carer burden, behavioural and psychiatric symptoms, as well as costs.

 The sample size was set at 700+, with about two thirds of those randomised to the exercise intervention. Each group had about 6 people and the majority of the classes in Coventry took place at Atrium's new Centre for Exercise and Health in Watch Close. In addition Atrium staff helped administer the exercise intervention. Other local regions that recruited included, - Wolston, Rugby, Nuneaton, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Worcestershire, Northamptonshire and Berkshire.

 The specially designed exercise programme was set at moderate to hard intensity (progressive aerobic and resistance training) and consisted of two 1-hour weekly sessions over a period of 4 months.

DAPA trial participants training at Atrium after the trial finished, were supported to increase their independent physical activity.DAPA participants and their carers were encouraged to attend main exercise program supervised by our exercise team. More challenging sufferers were directed to a group exercise session ‘Move to improve’ held weekly at the Centre for Exercise and Health and subsidised by Age UK Coventry the study. In this fashion the trial has alreadyhad a lasting legacy. Results will be published in the near future.




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