Prehabilitation program for elective coronary artery bypass graft surgery patients: a pilot randomized controlled study

Clin Rehabil. 2014 Jul;28(7):648-57. doi: 10.1177/0269215513516475. Epub 2014 Jan 23.


Objective: To determine the feasibility of a cardiac prehabilitation (Prehab) program for patients waiting for elective coronary artery bypass graft (CABG).

Design: A two-group parallel randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Medical fitness facility.

Subjects: Seventeen preoperative elective CABG surgery patients were randomized to standard care (n = 9) or Prehab (n = 8).

Intervention: Standard care: three-hour preassessment appointment. Prehab: exercise and education classes for 60 minutes/day, twice weekly for at least four weeks.

Main measures: Data were collected at baseline, one week preoperatively, and three months postoperatively. The primary outcome measure was walking distance using a 6-minute walk test. Secondary outcome variables included 5-meter gait speed, and cardiac rehabilitation attendance three months postoperatively.

Results: Fifteen patients (standard care, n = 7; Prehab, n = 8) completed the study. No Prehab patients developed cardiac symptoms during study participation. Walking distance remained unchanged in the standard care group; whereas, the Prehab group increased their walking distance to mean ± SD 474 ±101 and 487 ±106 m at the preoperative and three month postoperative assessments (p < 0.05). Gait speed was unchanged in the standard care group, but improved in the Prehab group by 27% and 33% preoperatively and three months postoperatively, respectively (p < 0.05). Enrollment in cardiac rehabilitation three months postoperatively was higher for Prehab participants (100%) than standard care participants (43%; p < 0.05).

Conclusion: These data provide evidence for the feasibility of a Prehab intervention to improve the health status of patients waiting for elective CABG surgery. A larger trial of 92 patients will be utilized to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of Prehab.

Keywords: Coronary artery bypass; exercise therapy; pre-habilitation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Coronary Artery Bypass*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / rehabilitation*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / surgery*
  • Elective Surgical Procedures
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Preoperative Care*
  • Rehabilitation / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome