Physical activity via early mobilization after surgery is recommended to help reduce the risk of postoperative adverse effects and to improve recovery. We explored whether prehabilitation is associated with differences in physical activity during the postoperative inpatient stay and the week after discharge in men undergoing abdominal surgery.
This study was a pre-planned secondary analysis of a larger randomized controlled trial of home-based exercise prehabilitation versus control for men undergoing radical prostatectomy. Twenty-one participants in both the prehabilitation and control groups wore accelerometers from postoperative day 1 until 7 days after discharge. Mean physical activity (minutes) during postoperative day 1 (inpatient) and 1 week following hospital discharge (outpatient) were estimated using ANCOVA. Pearson's correlation coefficients were conducted for mean in- an outpatient physical activity with length of stay and changes in 6-min walk test (6MWT) over the course of the prehabilitation period.
Nineteen participants in each group provided usable accelerometry data for analysis. Inpatient physical activity of light or greater activity during postoperative day 1 for prehabilitation and control groups were 442.5 ± 40.2 and 324.0 ± 40.2 min, respectively (∆ = 117.5 ± 57.8 min, 95%CI [0.04, 235.0]). During the outpatient period, mean daily physical activity was 448.4 ± 31.2 and 491.42 ± 31.2 min for prehabilitation and control participants, respectively (∆ = 42.6 ± 44.9 min; 95% CI [- 134.0, 48.7]). There were no correlations between in- or outpatient physical activity and preoperative changes in 6MWT or length of stay.
Accelerometry-based measurement of physical activity in the acute postoperative period is feasible in older men undergoing abdominal surgery. Prehabilitation may be associated with increased inpatient physical activity; however, larger and longer studies are needed to elucidate any associated effects on clinical and patient outcomes.
Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT02036684 registered January 15, 2014.