The effect of prehabilitation on postoperative complications and postoperative hospital stay in hepatopancreatobiliary surgery a systematic review

HPB (Oxford). 2021 Sep;23(9):1299-1310. doi: 10.1016/j.hpb.2021.04.021. Epub 2021 Apr 29.


Background: Increasing numbers of high-risk (older and/or frail) patients are undergoing hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB) surgery. Therefore, optimization of the patient's psychophysiological capacity by prehabilitation is rapidly gaining importance. The aim of this study was to collect all available evidence on prehabilitation in HPB surgery and determine its effects on postoperative complications and length of hospital stay.

Methods: A systematic review was performed according to PRISMA guidelines. The electronic databases MEDLINE, Web of Science, Embase, CENTRAL,, and the international clinical trials registry platform (ICTRP) were searched from inception to April 2020. Methodological quality of included studies was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration's tool for assessing risk of bias and the ROBINS-I tool.

Results: Seven articles including a total of 1377 patients were included in the quality analysis. A trend towards less complications and a shorter hospital stay was seen in the prehabilitation group, but current evidence fails to demonstrate a statistically significant difference between groups. Risk of bias in included studies was variable, and was generally scored as moderate.

Conclusion: Strong evidence for the beneficial effect of prehabilitation on clinical outcomes in HPB surgery is lacking. A trend towards less complications and shorter hospital stay was seen in the prehabilitation group.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Postoperative Complications* / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications* / prevention & control
  • Postoperative Period
  • Preoperative Exercise*