Exercise for older adult inpatients with acute myelogenous leukemia: A pilot study

J Geriatr Oncol. 2011 Jan;2(1):11-17. doi: 10.1016/j.jgo.2010.10.004.


Objectives: Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) largely affects older adults. Few interventions have sought to improve functional status and health-related quality of life (HRQL) during treatment. The objective of this study is to examine the feasibility of an exercise intervention among older adults with AML undergoing induction chemotherapy.

Materials and methods: Pilot study of adults ≥50 years of age hospitalized for AML chemotherapy. The four week exercise intervention included stretching, walking, and strength exercises. Feasibility measures included recruitment, retention, number of exercise sessions completed, and barriers to participation. Physical function, HRQL, depression, and distress were assessed at baseline (week 1), upon completion of intervention (week 5), and during follow-up (weeks 9-13). Exploratory analyses used repeated measures ANCOVA to model changes over time.

Results: Among 55 eligible inpatients, 24 enrolled (43.6%). Mean age was 65.1 years (SD 7.8). 87.5% of participants completed baseline measures; 70.8% attended ≥1 exercise sessions, and 50.0% completed post-intervention assessment. Among baseline characteristics, only higher physical performance was associated with greater number of exercise sessions attended (p=0.001). Post intervention, HRQL and depressive symptoms improved (p <0.05).

Conclusions: Recruitment to an exercise intervention was feasible. Exercise shows promise to maintain physical function and enhance HRQL. Strategies to enhance adherence to exercise are needed to maximize benefit.

Keywords: Acute myelogenous leukemia; elderly; exercise; physical activity; physical function; quality of life.