Effects of whole-body vibration or resistive-vibration exercise on blood clotting and related biomarkers: a systematic review

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Whole-body vibration (WBV) and resistive vibration exercise (RVE) are utilized as countermeasures against bone loss, muscle wasting, and physical deconditioning. The safety of the interventions, in terms of the risk of inducing undesired blood clotting and venous thrombosis, is not clear. We therefore performed the present systematic review of the available scientific literature on the issue. The review was conducted following the guidelines by the Space Biomedicine Systematic Review Group, based on Cochrane review guidelines. The relevant context or environment of the studies was "ground-based environment"; space analogs or diseased conditions were not included. The search retrieved 801 studies; 77 articles were selected for further consideration after an initial screening. Thirty-three studies met the inclusion criteria. The main variables related to blood markers involved angiogenic and endothelial factors, fibrinolysis and coagulation markers, cytokine levels, inflammatory and plasma oxidative stress markers. Functional and hemodynamic markers involved blood pressure measurements, systemic vascular resistance, blood flow and microvascular and endothelial functions. The available evidence suggests neutral or potentially positive effects of short- and long-term interventions with WBV and RVE on variables related to blood coagulation, fibrinolysis, inflammatory status, oxidative stress, cardiovascular, microvascular and endothelial functions. No significant warning signs towards an increased risk of undesired clotting and venous thrombosis were identified. If confirmed by further studies, WBV and RVE could be part of the countermeasures aimed at preventing or attenuating the muscular and cardiovascular deconditioning associated with spaceflights, permanence on planetary habitats and ground-based simulations of microgravity.