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D.E. Hall, A. Youk, K. Allsup, K. Kennedy, T.D. Byard, R. Dhupar, D. Chu, A.M. Rahman, M. Wilson, L.P. Cahalin, J. Afilalo, D. Forman

J Frailty Aging 2023;12(4)267-276

Background: Frailty is a multidimensional state of increased vulnerability. Frail patients are at increased risk for poor surgical outcomes. Prior research demonstrates that rehabilitation strategies deployed after surgery improve outcomes by building strength. Objectives: Examine the feasibility and impact of a novel, multi-faceted prehabilitation intervention for frail patients before surgery. Design: Single arm clinical trial. Setting: Veterans Affairs hospital. Participants: Patients preparing for major abdominal, urological, thoracic, or cardiac surgery with frailty identified as a Risk Analysis Index≥30. Intervention: Prehabilitation started in a supervised setting to establish safety and then transitioned to home-based exercise with weekly telephone coaching by exercise physiologists. Prehabilitation included (a)strength and coordination training; (b)respiratory muscle training (IMT); (c)aerobic conditioning; and (d)nutritional coaching and supplementation. Prehabilitation length was tailored to the 4-6 week time lag typically preceding each participant’s normally scheduled surgery. Measurements: Functional performance and patient surveys were assessed at baseline, every other week during prehabilitation, and then 30 and 90 days after surgery. Within-person changes were estimated using linear mixed models. Results: 43 patients completed baseline assessments; 36(84%) completed a median 5(range 3-10) weeks of prehabilitation before surgery; 32(74%) were retained through 90-day follow-up. Baseline function was relatively low. Exercise logs show participants completed 94% of supervised exercise, 78% of prescribed IMT and 74% of home-based exercise. Between baseline and day of surgery, timed-up-and-go decreased 2.3 seconds, gait speed increased 0.1 meters/second, six-minute walk test increased 41.7 meters, and the time to complete 5 chair rises decreased 1.6 seconds(all P≤0.007). Maximum and mean inspiratory and expiratory pressures increased 4.5, 7.3, 14.1 and 13.5 centimeters of water, respectively(all P≤0.041). Conclusions: Prehabilitation is feasible before major surgery and achieves clinically meaningful improvements in functional performance that may impact postoperative outcomes and recovery. These data support rationale for a larger trial powered to detect differences in postoperative outcomes.

D.E. Hall ; A. Youk ; K. Allsup ; K. Kennedy ; T.D. Byard ; R. Dhupar ; D. Chu ; A.M. Rahman ; M. Wilson ; L.P. Cahalin ; J. Afilalo ; D. Forman ; (2022): Preoperative Rehabilitation Is Feasible in the Weeks Prior to Surgery and Significantly Improves Functional Performance. The Journal of Frailty and Aging (JFA). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jfa.2022.42


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