This study evaluates the physical and psychosocial effects of an inpatient exercise program for children and adolescents undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Participants (n = 70) were randomized to an exercise intervention (IG: resistance, endurance, and flexibility training) or a non-exercise control group (CG: mental and relaxation training). Pre- (prior hospital admission; T0) and post- (day of discharge; T1) measurements included maximal isometric knee extension strength (KES; strain gauge force transducer), hand grip strength (HGS; JAMAR dynamometer), distance walked in 6 min (6MWD; 6-minute walk test), quality of life (QoL; KINDL-R) and medical parameters. Fifty-seven patients (IG: n = 28; 11.0 (5–17) years; CG: n = 29; 12.0 (6–18) years) completed the study. During hospitalization the IG and CG attended on average 3.1 (2–4) or 2.9 (0.3–4) training sessions weekly. KES, 6MWD, and HGS significantly decreased (p < 0.05) in the CG, while there were no changes in the IG. Pre- to post-changes in 6MWD and HGS differed significantly between groups (p < 0.05). QoL declined in both groups (p < 0.05). Our results indicate that a moderate exercise program is feasible and might counteract a treatment-associated decline of physical performance.
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The authors like to thank all patients and their families for their participation in this trial. The BISON-Study was financially supported by the German Josè Carreras Leukemia Foundation (2010–2013, project no. 10/29), Hilfe für krebskranke Kinder Frankfurt e.V., the Adolf Messer Foundation and private donors.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The study was approved by the local ethics committee of the medical faculty of Goethe-University Frankfurt/Germany (number: 98/10) and is registered at ClincialTrials.gov (registration number: NCT01575704).
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