Seven-day intensive preoperative rehabilitation for elderly patients with lung cancer: a randomized controlled trial

J Surg Res. 2017 Mar;209:30-36. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2016.09.033. Epub 2016 Sep 28.


Background: As a newly developed treatment, preoperative pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) has been studied in depth. However, few studies have assessed the relationship between advanced age and a shorter term intensive pattern of preoperative PR in patients with lung cancer (LC) and especially those patients waiting for therapeutic LC surgeries. This study investigated short-term preoperative PR combined with inspiratory muscle training (IMT) and aerobic endurance training in elderly patients scheduled to undergo LC lobectomy.

Methods: A prospective randomized controlled trial with a total of 60 subjects aged ≥70 y was conducted. The intervention group (PR group) was treated for 1 wk with systematic and highly intensive preoperative PR training before lobectomy, and the control group (NPR group) was treated with conventional preoperative respiratory management. We analyzed the 6-min walking distance (6-MWD), the peak expiratory flow (PEF), and quality-of-life scores before and after the rehabilitation regimen as well as the incidence of postoperative pulmonary complications (PPCs).

Results: In total, 30 patients (PR group) completely executed the 7-d intensive preoperative PR, and 30 patients (NPR group) served as the control group. The two groups were comparable at baseline. During the preoperative PR, a significantly longer 6-MWD (increase: 28.6 ± 18.2 versus 9.4 ± 27.0 m; between-groups difference: 19.2 m, P = 0.029) and an increased PEF (increase: 26.2 ± 22.5 versus 8.2 ± 10.3 L/min; between-groups difference: 18.0 L/min, P < 0.001) were noted in the PR group compared with the NPR group. After LC surgery, the mean postoperative length of stay (6.9 ± 4.4 versus 10.7 ± 6.4 d, P = 0.010) and total hospital stay (16.0 ± 4.5 versus 19.7 ± 6.5 d, P = 0.012) were significantly reduced in the PR group. Thirty-day PPCs were noted in four (13.3%) patients in the PR group and 11 (36.7%) patients in the NPR group, with a significant difference between the two groups (P = 0.037).

Conclusions: For elderly LC patients scheduled to undergo surgery in China, a 7-d intensive pattern of preoperative PR combined with IMT and aerobic endurance training may be a feasible rehabilitation strategy with positive physical and psychological effects.

Keywords: Elderly; Lung cancer; Preoperative pulmonary rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Respiratory Therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome