"Optimal recovery" after colon cancer surgery in the elderly, a comparative cohort study: Conventional care vs. enhanced recovery vs. prehabilitation

Cir Esp (Engl Ed). 2023 Jun;101(6):426-434. doi: 10.1016/j.cireng.2022.06.026. Epub 2022 Jun 17.


Background: Colon cancer in elderly patients is an increasing problem due to its prevalence and progressive aging population. Prehabilitation has experienced a great grown in this field. Whether it is the best standard of care for these patients has not been elucidated yet.

Methods: A retrospective comparative cohort study of three different standards of care for elderly colon cancer patients (>65 years) was conducted. A four-weeks trimodal prehabilitation program (PP), enhanced recovery program (ERP) and conventional care (CC) were compared. Global complications, major complications (Clavien-Dindo ≥ 3), reinterventions, mortality, readmission and length of stay were measured. Optimal recovery, defined as postoperative course without major complications, no mortality, hospital discharge before the fifth postoperative day and without readmission, was the primary outcome measure. The influence of standard of care in optimal recovery and postoperative outcomes was assessed with univariate and multivariate logistic regression models.

Results: A total of 153 patients were included, 51 in each group. Mean age was 77.9 years. ASA Score distribution was different between groups (ASA III-IV: CC 56.9%, ERP 25.5%, PP 58.9%; p = 0.014). Optimal recovery rate was 55.6% (PP 54.9%, ERP 66.7%, CC 45.1%; p = 0.09). No differences were found in major complications (p = 0.2) nor reinterventions (p = 0.7). Uneventful recovery favors ERP and PP groups (p = 0.046 and p = 0.049 respectively).

Conclusions: PP and ERP are safe and effective for older colon cancer patients. Fewer overall complications and readmissions happened in ERP and PP patients. Major complications were independent of the standard of care used.

Keywords: Colon cancer; Conventional care; Cuidados convencionales; Cáncer de colon; Elderly patients; Enhanced recovery after surgery; Optimal recovery; Pacientes ancianos; Prehabilitación; Prehabilitation; Recuperación Intensificada tras Cirugía del Adulto; Recuperación óptima.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colonic Neoplasms* / complications
  • Colonic Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Preoperative Exercise*
  • Retrospective Studies