Investigation of the Effects of an Exercise Program on Physical Functions and Activities of Daily Life in Pediatric Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

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Abstract

Background.

The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of an implemented exercise program for children throughout the hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) process.

Procedure.

Twenty-two children aged between 3 and 17, who were earlier selected for HSCT, were divided into two groups—intervention and control. Children's physical function, functional performance, and activities of daily life (ADL) were assessed before HSCT, at discharge, and 1 month later. The exercise program, which consisted of strengthening, endurance, stretching, and relaxation exercises, was implemented to the intervention group for 5 days a week throughout hospitalization; and these exercises were given as home program at discharge.

Results.

The results of the supervised exercise program during hospitalization showed that the children's physical function and functional performance increased statistically significantly in the intervention group (P < 0.05) and decreased statistically significantly in the control group (P < 0.05). For the ADL, no difference was found between the two groups (P > 0.05).

Conclusions.

The present study determined that the exercise program had positive effects throughout the HSCT process, but these effects did not continue during the follow-up period. Exercise programs implemented by physiotherapists are important for children undergoing HSCT, and after transplantation it is necessary to continue supervised exercise program during follow-up.

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