BACKGROUND: Acute high-risk abdominal (AHA) surgery is associated with high mortality, multiple postoperative complications and prolonged hospital stay. Further development of strategies for enhanced recovery programs following AHA surgery is needed. The aim of this study was to describe physical performance and barriers to independent mobilization among patients who received AHA surgery (postoperative days [POD] 1-7).

METHODS: Patients undergoing AHA surgery were consecutively enrolled from a university hospital in Denmark. In the first postoperative week, all patients were evaluated daily with regards to physical performance, using the Cumulated Ambulation Score (CAS; 0-6 points) to assess basic mobility and the activePAL monitor to assess the 24-hour physical activity level. We recorded barriers to independent mobilization.

RESULTS: Fifty patients undergoing AHA surgery (mean age 61.4 ± 17.2 years) were included. Seven patients died within the first postoperative week, and 15 of 43 (35%) patients were still not independently mobilized (CAS < 6) on POD-7, which was associated with pulmonary complications developing (53% v. 14% in those with CAS = 6, p = 0.012). The patients lay or sat for a median of 23.4 hours daily during the first week after AHA surgery, and the main barriers to independent mobilization were fatigue and abdominal pain.

CONCLUSION: Patients who receive AHA surgery have very limited physical performance in the first postoperative week. Barriers to independent mobilization are primarily fatigue and abdominal pain. Further studies investigating strategies for early mobilization and barriers to mobilization in the immediate postoperative period after AHA surgery are needed.

TidsskriftCanadian Journal of Surgery
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)42-49
StatusUdgivet - 1 feb. 2018


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