Feasibility of early postoperative mobilisation after colorectal surgery: A retrospective cohort study

Int J Surg. 2018 Aug:56:161-166. doi: 10.1016/j.ijsu.2018.06.024. Epub 2018 Jun 20.


Background: Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) guidelines advocate early postoperative mobilisation to counteract catabolic changes due to immobilisation and maintain muscle strength. The present study aimed to assess compliance to postoperative mobilisation according to ERAS recommendations.

Materials and methods: This is a retrospective cohort study on consecutive colorectal surgical procedures treated within an established ERAS protocol within a single center between May 2011 and May 2017. Demographics, surgical details, ERAS related items and surgical outcome were prospectively assessed in a dedicated database and compared between ambulant patients (at least 6 h out of bed at postoperative day (POD) 1) vs. patients not meeting the target (delayed mobilisation). Risk factors for decreased postoperative mobilisation were identified through multivariable logistic regression.

Results: 1170 patients were retained. 676 patients (58%) did not mobilise as recommended by ERAS protocol at POD1. Emergency operation (Odds Ratio (OR) 0.40; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.18-0.91, p = 0.028), age > 70 years (OR 0.69; 95% CI 0.47-1.00, p = 0.050) and intraoperative total fluids > 2000 mL (OR 0.59; 95% CI 0.37-0.93, p = 0.025) were independent risk factors for delayed mobilisation. Patients with delayed mobilisation had significantly more overall (Clavien grade IV) (55% vs. 29%, p=<0.001), major (Clavien grade IIIb-V) (16% vs. 7%, p=<0.001) and respiratory (12% vs. 4%, p=<0.001) complications, as well as longer length of stay (12 ± 14 vs. 6±7days, p=<0.001).

Conclusions: More than half of patients did not mobilise as recommended by ERAS guidelines. Emergency surgery, advanced age and fluid overload were independent risk factors for delayed mobilisation, which was associated with increased postoperative complications.

Keywords: Colorectal surgery; Compliance; Early ambulation; Enhanced recovery; Mobilisation.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aftercare / methods*
  • Aftercare / standards
  • Aged
  • Colon / surgery
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures / rehabilitation*
  • Early Ambulation / methods*
  • Early Ambulation / standards
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patient Compliance
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rectum / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome