Little is known about functional recovery following patient discharge in an established enhanced recovery programme after video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy. We conducted a single-centre pilot prospective observational cohort study. We hypothesised that patients achieved early functional recovery after discharge. A total of 32 patients aged ≥ 18 years were enrolled. A digital device was used for objective activity measurements, and patient-reported outcomes were collected as subjective measurements. Primary outcomes were the difference in physical activity; sleep duration; pain; fatigue; and average quality of life scores between pre-operative baseline and 7 days following discharge. The secondary outcome was the reason for reduced daily activity during the first 7 days after discharge. Median (IQR [range]) length of stay was 3 (2-5 [1-13]) days. Up to post-discharge day 7, total, lower intensity and moderate-to-vigorous activities were lower than pre-operative activity (p < 0.001; p = 0.005 and p = 0.027, respectively). Numerical rating scale (0-10) pain scores increased postoperatively at rest (mean difference 1.2, p < 0.001) and during walking (mean difference 1.4, p < 0.001). Fatigue assessed by the Christensen Fatigue Scale (1-10) was also increased postoperatively (mean difference 1.7, p = 0.001). There was a reduction in quality of life scores, while sedentary activity and sleep duration were unchanged postoperatively. Dominant reasons for not recovering daily activity included fatigue in 43% and pain in 33% of patients. Despite compliance with an enhanced recovery programme with a median length of hospital stay of 3 days after video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy, functional recovery was not achieved within 7 days after hospital discharge. Reduction in postoperative pain and fatigue are important factors to enhance functional recovery.
- enhanced recovery after surgery
- functional recovery
- video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery