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Prehabilitation Before Major Abdominal Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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Abstract

Introduction

Prehabilitation prior to major surgery has increased in popularity over recent years and aims to improve pre-operative conditioning of patients to improve post-operative outcomes. The beneficial effect of such protocols is not well established with conflicting results reported. This review aimed to assess the effect of prehabilitation on post-operative outcome after major abdominal surgery.

Methods

EMBASE, Medline, PubMed and the Cochrane database were searched in August 2018 for trials comparing outcomes of patients undergoing prehabilitation involving prescribed respiratory and exercise interventions prior to abdominal surgery. Study characteristics, overall and pulmonary morbidity, length of stay (LOS), maximum inspiratory pressure and change in six-minute walking test (6MWT) distance were obtained. The primary outcome was post-operative overall morbidity within 30 days. Dichotomous data were analysed by fixed or random effects odds ratio. Continuous data were analysed with weighted mean difference.

Results

Fifteen RCTs were included in the analysis with 457 prehabilitation patients and 450 control group patients. A significant reduction in overall (OR 0.63 95% CI 0.46–0.87 I2 34%, p = 0.005) and pulmonary morbidity (OR 0.4 95% CI 0.23–0.68, I2 = 0%, p = 0.0007) was observed in the prehabilitation group. No significant difference in LOS (WMD −2.39 95% CI −4.86 to 0.08 I2 = 0%, p = 0.06) or change in 6MWT distance (WMD 9.06 95% CI −35.68, 53.81 I2 = 88%, p = 0.69) was observed.

Conclusions

Prehabilitation can reduce overall and pulmonary morbidity following surgery and could be utilised routinely. The precise protocol of prehabilitation has not been completely established. Further work is required to tailor optimal prehabilitation protocols for specific operative procedures.

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Correspondence to Michael J. Hughes.

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Hughes, M.J., Hackney, R.J., Lamb, P.J. et al. Prehabilitation Before Major Abdominal Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. World J Surg 43, 1661–1668 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00268-019-04950-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00268-019-04950-y

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