Objective: To evaluate short- and long-term effects of perioperative human growth hormone (hGH) treatment on physical performance and fatigue in younger patients undergoing a major abdominal operation in a normal postoperative regimen with oral nutrition.
Summary background data: Muscle wasting and functional impairment follow major abdominal surgery.
Methods: Twenty-four patients with ulcerative colitis undergoing ileoanal J-pouch surgery were randomized to hGH (12 IU/day) or placebo treatment from 2 days before to 7 days after surgery. Measurements were performed 2 days before and 10, 30, and 90 days after surgery.
Results: The total muscle strength of four limb muscle groups was reduced by 7.6% in the hGH group and by 17.1% in the placebo group at postoperative day 10 compared with baseline values. There was also a significant difference between treatment groups in total muscle strength at day 30, and at the 90-day follow-up total muscle strength was equal to baseline values in the hGH group, but still significantly 5.9% below in the placebo group. The work capacity decreased by approximately 20% at day 10 after surgery, with no significant difference between treatment groups. Both groups were equally fatigued at day 10 after surgery, but at day 30 and 90 the hGH patients were less fatigued than the placebo patients. During the treatment period, patients receiving hGH had reduced loss of limb lean tissue mass, and 3 months after surgery the hGH patients had regained more lean tissue mass than placebo patients.
Conclusions: Perioperative hGH treatment of younger patients undergoing major abdominal surgery preserved limb lean tissue mass, increased postoperative muscular strength, and reduced long-term postoperative fatigue.