Preoperative therapeutic programme for elderly patients scheduled for elective abdominal oncological surgery: a randomized controlled pilot study

Clin Rehabil. 2010 Jul;24(7):614-22. doi: 10.1177/0269215509358941. Epub 2010 Jun 8.


Objective: Investigation of the feasibility and preliminary effect of a short-term intensive preoperative exercise programme for elderly patients scheduled for elective abdominal oncological surgery.

Design: Single-blind randomized controlled pilot study.

Setting: Ordinary hospital in the Netherlands.

Subjects: Forty-two elderly patients (>60 years).

Interventions: Patients were randomly assigned to receive a short-term intensive therapeutic exercise programme to improve muscle strength, aerobic capacity, and functional activities, given in the outpatient department (intervention group; n =22), or home-based exercise advice (control group; n=20).

Main measures: Parameters of feasibility, preoperative functional capacity and postoperative course.

Results: The intensive training programme was feasible, with a high compliance and no adverse events. Respiratory muscle endurance increased in the preoperative period from 259 +/- 273 to 404 +/- 349 J in the intervention group and differed significantly from that in the control group (350 +/- 299 to 305 +/- 323 J; P<0.01). Timed-Up-and-Go, chair rise time, LASA Physical Activity Questionnaire, Physical Work Capacity and Quality of Life (EORTC-C30) did not reveal significant differences between the two groups. There was no significant difference in postoperative complications and length of hospital stay between the two groups.

Conclusion: The intensive therapeutic exercise programme was feasible and improved the respiratory function of patients due to undergo elective abdominal surgery compared with home-based exercise advice.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Neoplasms / complications
  • Abdominal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Aged
  • Elective Surgical Procedures*
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Fitness
  • Pilot Projects
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Preoperative Care / rehabilitation
  • Single-Blind Method