Objective Quantification of In-Hospital Patient Mobilization after Cardiac Surgery Using Accelerometers: Selection, Use, and Analysis

Sensors (Basel). 2021 Mar 11;21(6):1979. doi: 10.3390/s21061979.


Cardiac surgery patients infrequently mobilize during their hospital stay. It is unclear for patients why mobilization is important, and exact progress of mobilization activities is not available. The aim of this study was to select and evaluate accelerometers for objective qualification of in-hospital mobilization after cardiac surgery. Six static and dynamic patient activities were defined to measure patient mobilization during the postoperative hospital stay. Device requirements were formulated, and the available devices reviewed. A triaxial accelerometer (AX3, Axivity) was selected for a clinical pilot in a heart surgery ward and placed on both the upper arm and upper leg. An artificial neural network algorithm was applied to classify lying in bed, sitting in a chair, standing, walking, cycling on an exercise bike, and walking the stairs. The primary endpoint was the daily amount of each activity performed between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. The secondary endpoints were length of intensive care unit stay and surgical ward stay. A subgroup analysis for male and female patients was planned. In total, 29 patients were classified after cardiac surgery with an intensive care unit stay of 1 (1 to 2) night and surgical ward stay of 5 (3 to 6) nights. Patients spent 41 (20 to 62) min less time in bed for each consecutive hospital day, as determined by a mixed-model analysis (p < 0.001). Standing, walking, and walking the stairs increased during the hospital stay. No differences between men (n = 22) and women (n = 7) were observed for all endpoints in this study. The approach presented in this study is applicable for measuring all six activities and for monitoring postoperative recovery of cardiac surgery patients. A next step is to provide feedback to patients and healthcare professionals, to speed up recovery.

Keywords: LOO cross-validation; activity classification; biomedical signal processing; early ambulation; k-fold cross validation; patient monitoring; thoracic surgery; wearable technology.

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures*
  • Female
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Walking*