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This pilot study aimed to describe physical performance, self-reported physical activity, health-related quality of life, anxiety and depression in patients who were assigned from Austrian self-help groups for multiple myeloma patients. These parameters were then discussed in the context of clinical decision-making concerning the recommended type of regular physical activity and exercise.
Members of the self-help groups were invited to participate. Physical performance and physical activity were assessed with the 6 min walk test (6MWT), handgrip strength test, timed up and go test (TUG), Tinetti performance oriented mobility assessment (POMA), falls efficacy scale (FES), international physical activity questionnaire (IPAQ), health-related quality of life (EORTC QLQ-C30) and the hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS).
A total of 40 patients (female:male = 15:25, mean age: 63.8 ± 9.0 years, range 41–80 years) were identified. In total 20 (50%) reached the performance of healthy peers in the tests 6MWT, handgrip strength, TUG and POMA, while 50% showed at least 1 result below the reference value or cut-off-point for each test. Self-reported activity levels were high. Patients showed a tendency to overestimate the risk of falling but a case by case analysis revealed a tendency for underestimating the actual performance in the respective tests (TUG, POMA).
The performance of healthy peers was reached by a substantial number of the participants in tests of physical performance and they reported high levels of physical activity. Nevertheless, they tended to overestimate the specific risk of falling. Patients with notably impaired physical performance might be suitable to perform regular physical activity and exercise in an individual therapy, whereas those with good physical performance are suited for training in exercise groups; however, individual contraindications and clinical considerations should be noted in a multiprofessional and interdisciplinary setting.