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Role of a mixed type, moderate intensity exercise programme after peripheral blood stem cell transplantation

Abstract

Objectives: To evaluate the effect of peripheral blood stem cell transplantation on functional capacity, and to determine the role of a mixed type, moderate intensity exercise programme in the recovery of patients after intensive cancer treatment.

Methods: Peak aerobic capacity and muscular strength (upper body, lower body, and handgrip strength) measures were assessed before (PI) and after (PII) transplant and after a 12 week intervention period (PIII). After PII, 12 patients aged 16–64 years were allotted in equal numbers to a control group or exercise intervention group.

Results: Mean peak aerobic capacity and muscular strength were reduced after the transplant, with significant (p<0.05) decreases for upper body strength. No change was found in aerobic capacity and muscular strength between PII and PIII for the control group. In contrast, participation in the exercise programme led to significant improvements in peak aerobic capacity (p<0.05) and upper and lower body strength (p<0.01). In addition, values recorded after the three month intervention period were significantly higher than before treatment for peak aerobic capacity (litres/min (p<0.05) and ml/kg/min (p<0.01)) and lower body strength (p<0.01).

Conclusion: Intensive treatment for cancer can adversely affect aerobic capacity and muscular strength. A mixed type, moderate intensity exercise programme can help patients to regain fitness and strength within three months. No exercise can exacerbate physical losses resulting from treatment.

  • aerobic capacity
  • muscular strength
  • bone marrow transplant
  • cancer
  • rehabilitation
  • HR, heart rate
  • FFM, fat free mass
  • PBST, peripheral blood stem cell transplantation
  • RER, respiratory exchange ratio
  • RM, repetition maximum
  • Vo2peak, peak aerobic capacity

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