Nutritional issues and body weight in long-term survivors of allogeneic blood and marrow transplant (BMT) in NSW Australia

Support Care Cancer. 2017 Jan;25(1):137-144. doi: 10.1007/s00520-016-3398-5. Epub 2016 Sep 2.


Purpose: The aims of this study were to describe the long-term nutrition, body weight and body image issues facing survivors of Allogeneic Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) and their impact on quality of life. It also describes survivors' perception of enteral feeding during BMT.

Methods: Four hundred and forty-one survivors who had undergone a BMT in NSW, Australia between 2000 and 2012 (n = 441/583) completed the Sydney Post BMT Study Survey (SPBS).

Results: Forty-five percent of survivors less than 2-year post-transplant reported a dry mouth, 36 % reported mouth ulcers and 19 % had diarrhoea. This was consistent across all survivor groups, regardless of time since transplant. Patients with one or more gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms had significantly lower quality of life scores. There was a significant difference in quality of life scores when comparing those with no GI symptoms to those with one or more symptoms (P = <0.0001). Quality of life was significantly higher in those who once again enjoyed mealtimes (P < 0.0001). Males were more likely to be satisfied with their body weight compared to females (P = 0.009). The median body mass index (BMI) for all patients reporting body weight satisfaction was significantly lower (BMI 23.5) than those reporting dissatisfaction (BMI 27.5) (P = <0.0001). Survivors who had a normal BMI had significantly higher rates of body weight satisfaction compared to underweight, overweight and obese survivors (P = <0.0001). Those survivors who were overweight or obese were significantly more likely to be diabetic (P = 0.008).

Conclusion: This study revealed an important relationship between gastrointestinal symptoms, body weight and body image and survivor's quality of life. It provides further support for the importance of nutrition therapy post-BMT.

Keywords: BMI; Blood and marrow transplantation- BMT; Cancer survivorship; Late complications; Nutrition; Quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Body Image / psychology
  • Body Weight*
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / methods
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / psychology
  • Enteral Nutrition / adverse effects
  • Enteral Nutrition / methods
  • Enteral Nutrition / psychology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Overweight / psychology
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors
  • Young Adult