After allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT), patients often report functional impairments like reduced gait speed and muscle weakness. These impairments can increase the risk of adverse health events similar to elderly populations. However, they have not been quantified in patients after alloHCT (PATs).
We compared fear of falling (Falls Efficacy Scale–International) and temporal gait parameters recorded on a 10-m walkway at preferred and maximum gait speed and under dual-task walking of 16 PATs (aged 31-73 years) with 15 age-matched control participants (CONs) and 17 seniors (SENs, aged >73 years).
Groups’ gait parameters especially differed during the maximum speed condition: PATs walked slower and required more steps/10 m than CONs. PATs exhibited greater stride, stance, and swing times than CONs. PATs’ swing time was even longer than SENs’. The PATs’ ability to accelerate their gait speed from preferred to fast was smaller compared with CONs’. PATs reported a greater fear of falling than CONs and SENs.
Gait analysis of alloHCT patients has revealed impairments of functional performance. Patients presented a diminished ability to accelerate gait and extending steps possibly related to a notable strength deficit that impairs powergeneration abilities from lower extremities. Furthermore, patients reported a greater fear of falling than control participants and even seniors. Slowing locomotion could be a risk-preventive safety strategy. Since functional disadvantages may put alloHCT patients at a higher risk of frailty, reinforcing appropriate physical exercises already during and after alloHCT could prevent adverse health events and reduce the risk of premature functional aging.