, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 765-770
Date: 30 Apr 2010

The effects of exercise therapy on delirium in cancer patients: a retrospective study

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The present study aimed to investigate the effects of exercise therapy on delirium in cancer patients.


We conducted a retrospective study of cancer patients who were admitted to Kyoto University Hospital and referred to the Palliative Care Team. Subjects were divided into two groups [an exercise therapy group (EG) and a non-exercise therapy group (NG)] according to whether exercise therapy was being used for early ambulation at the time delirium occurred. To examine whether any characteristics differed significantly between the two groups, we also compared age, performance status, alcohol use, existence of metastatic brain tumors or preexisting CNS illnesses, levels of opioid exposure, and survival time from the onset of delirium. Moreover, we investigated whether there were differences in antipsychotic drug doses administered between these two groups in order to better analyze the specific effects of exercise therapy on the course of delirium.


EG and NG groups did not differ significantly in terms of any characteristics. The administered dose of antipsychotic drugs was significantly lower in the EG group versus the NG group (2.198 mg versus 5.533 mg, p = 0.036). In comparison, the dose of opioids used did not differ significantly between the two study groups.


Given the relatively low antipsychotic doses used, it is conceivable that delirium symptoms were attenuated in patients who received exercise therapy. This study suggests that exercise therapy may be useful as one environmental/supportive intervention for delirium.