Physical exercise for patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials

  • I.E. V
  • H. T
  • C.M. P
 et al. 
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The treatment-related burden for patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) may be relieved by physical exercises. The purpose of this study was to summarize and analyze the evidence provided by randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on physical exercise interventions among patients with cancer undergoing HSCT. PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and PEDro were searched for relevant RCTs up to October 1, 2011. Two reviewers screened articles on inclusion criteria and indentified relevant RCTs. Two authors assessed the selected articles for risk of bias. Data extraction was performed by 1 reviewer. Meta-analyses were undertaken to estimate the outcomes quality of life (QOL), psychological well-being and distress, and fatigue. Eleven studies were included, with study populations consisting of recipients undergoing either an allogeneic or autologous HSCT (n=734). Four studies had low risk of bias. The exercise interventions were performed before, during, and after hospitalization for the HSCT. Different exercise programs on endurance, resistance and/or activities of daily living training, progressive relaxation, and stretching were used. Meta-analyses showed that exercise during hospitalization led to a higher QOL (weighted mean difference=8.72, 95% confidence interval=3.13, 14.31) and less fatigue (standardized mean difference=0.53, 95% confidence interval=0.16, 0.91) in patients with an allogeneic HSCT at the moment of discharge from the hospital. No marked effects were found for psychological well-being and distress. Individual study results suggested significant positive effects on QOL, fatigue, psychological well-being and distress, and physical functioning. Prevalent shortcomings in the included studies were the heterogeneity among studies and the lack of blinding of participants, personnel, and outcome assessment. The results suggest that recipients of HSCT may benefit from physical exercise.

Author-supplied keywords

  • *exercise
  • *fatigue/rh [Rehabilitation]
  • *hematologic disease/rh [Rehabilitation]
  • *hematologic disease/su [Surgery]
  • *hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • *kinesiotherapy
  • *quality of life
  • human
  • meta analysis
  • methodology
  • outcome assessment
  • physiology
  • randomized controlled trial (topic)
  • review

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  • van Haren I.E.

  • Timmerman H.

  • Potting C.M.

  • Blijlevens N.M.

  • Staal J.B.

  • Nijhuis-van der Sanden M.W.

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