Objectively measured mobilisation is enhanced by a new behaviour support tool in patients undergoing abdominal cancer surgery

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2019 Oct;45(10):1847-1853. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2019.04.013. Epub 2019 Apr 18.


Introduction: Mobilisation reduces the risk of complications after abdominal surgery. Despite that, patients spend most of their time immobilised during hospital stay. Hence, the aim of this study was to evaluate a tool called the Activity board, which includes behaviour change techniques, regarding effects on mobilisation and postoperative recovery after abdominal cancer surgery.

Material and methods: Patients who were planned for abdominal surgery due to colorectal, ovarian or urinary bladder cancer, and at least three postoperative days at Karolinska University Hospital were included in this non-randomised controlled trial, from January 2017 to May 2018. The patients were allocated to Activity board or standard treatment when they were admitted to hospital. Mobilisation was evaluated objectively with activity monitor the first three postoperative days, and postoperative recovery was assessed continuously during hospital stay.

Results: In total, 133 patients, mean (sd) age 68.1 (12.3) years were included. The patients with the Activity board had postoperatively higher levels of mobilisation, compared to standard treatment, as mean value over the first three days, steps, median (min-max) 1057 (3-10433) and 360 (0-6546), respectively (p = 0.001), and for each day separately. Further, the group with the Activity board had a shorter length of stay, 6 (3-13), compared to standard treatment 7 (3-14) (p = 0.027).

Conclusion: The Activity board is an effective tool to enhance mobilisation after abdominal surgery due to cancer, in hospital settings. Using the Activity board could lead to improved postoperative recovery.

Keywords: Activity monitor; Physical activity; Physiotherapy; Postoperative; Rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Neoplasms / rehabilitation
  • Abdominal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / trends
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Preoperative Care / methods*