OBJECTIVE: Patients with acute leukaemia undergoing chemotherapy experience multiple symptoms that interfere with activities of daily living. Exercise-based interventions have been used to remedy disease and treatment-related symptoms in patients with cancer. We explored the impact of exercise and health counselling on symptom prevalence, severity and longitudinal patterns.
METHODS: Explorative analysis of M.D. Anderson Symptom Inventory and Brief Fatigue Inventory completed weekly in a randomized controlled trial of patients with acute leukaemia undergoing consolidation chemotherapy. Seventy patients were consecutively recruited and randomly allocated to usual care (n = 36) or 12-week supervised exercise and health counselling (n = 34) at Copenhagen University Hospital, 2011-2014.
RESULTS: There was no difference in symptom prevalence between groups, but we found a significant increase in symptom and fatigue severity in the intervention group during the study period. However, the symptom burden reduced significantly in both groups at 12 weeks. Longitudinally, the symptom cluster; 'drowsiness, fatigue, disturbed sleep, difficulty remembering' was significantly more severe in the intervention group.
CONCLUSION: Intervention and control group participants had substantial symptom and fatigue burden during 12-week moderate exercise and health counselling in patients with acute leukaemia undergoing chemotherapy. A greater symptom burden was found in the intervention group during the 12 weeks, though reducing in both groups at 12 weeks. Studies are needed to examine the link between exercise and symptom severity.
- acute leukaemia
- health counselling
- symptom burden
- symptom cluster analysis
- symptom clusters
- symptom management