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

Inge E P M van Haren, Hans Timmerman, Carin M Potting, Nicole M A Blijlevens, J Bart Staal, Maria W G Nijhuis-van der Sanden

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

101 Citaten (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The treatment-related burden for patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) may be relieved by physical exercises.

PURPOSE: 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.

DATA SOURCES: PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and PEDro were searched for relevant RCTs up to October 1, 2011.

STUDY SELECTION: Two reviewers screened articles on inclusion criteria and indentified relevant RCTs.

DATA EXTRACTION: 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.

DATA SYNTHESIS: 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.

LIMITATIONS: Prevalent shortcomings in the included studies were the heterogeneity among studies and the lack of blinding of participants, personnel, and outcome assessment.

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that recipients of HSCT may benefit from physical exercise.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)514-28
Aantal pagina's15
TijdschriftPhysical Therapy
Nummer van het tijdschrift4
StatusPublished - apr-2013
Extern gepubliceerdJa

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