Effects of a partly self-administered exercise program before, during, and after allogeneic stem cell transplantation

Blood. 2011 Mar 3;117(9):2604-13. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-09-306308. Epub 2010 Dec 29.


Before, during, and after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT), patients experience considerable physical and psychologic distress. Besides graft-versus-host disease and infections, reduced physical performance and high levels of fatigue affect patients' quality of life. This multicenter randomized controlled trial examined the effects of a partly self-administered exercise intervention before, during, and after allo-HSCT on these side effects. After randomization to an exercise and a social contact control group 105 patients trained in a home-based setting before hospital admission, during inpatient treatment and a 6- to 8-week period after discharge. Fatigue, physical performance, quality of life, and physical/psychologic distress were measured by standardized instruments at baseline, admission to, and discharge from hospital and 6 to 8 weeks after discharge. The exercise group showed significantly improvement in fatigue scores (up to 15% improvement in exercise group vs up to 28% deterioration in control; P<.01-.03), physical fitness/functioning (P=.02-.03) and global distress (P=.03). All effects were at least detectable at one assessment time point after hospitalization or repeatedly. Physical fitness correlated significantly with all reported symptoms/variables. In conclusion, this partly supervised exercise intervention is beneficial for patients undergoing allo-HSCT. Because of low personnel requirements, it might be valuable to integrate such a program into standard medical care.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Demography
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Fatigue / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Physical Fitness
  • Self Administration
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Time Factors
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult