To estimate the extent to which staff-directed facilitation of early mobilization impacts recovery of pulmonary function and 30-day postoperative pulmonary complications (PPCs) after colorectal surgery.
Early mobilization after surgery is believed to improve pulmonary function and prevent PPCs; however, adherence is low. The value of allocating resources (eg, staff time) to increase early mobilization is unknown.
This study involved the analysis of a priori secondary outcomes of a pragmatic, observer-blind, randomized trial. Consecutive patients undergoing colorectal surgery were randomized 1:1 to usual care (preoperative education) or facilitated mobilization (staff dedicated to assist transfers and walking during hospital stay). Forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), and peak cough flow were measured preoperatively and at 1, 2, 3 days and 4 weeks after surgery. PPCs were defined according to the European Perioperative Clinical Outcome Taskforce.
Ninety-nine patients (57% male, 80% laparoscopic, median age 63, and predicted FEV1 97%) were included in the intention-to-treat analysis (usual care 49, facilitated mobilization 50). There was no between-group difference in recovery of forced vital capacity [adjusted difference in slopes 0.002 L/d (95% CI -0.01 to 0.01)], FEV1 [-0.002 L/d (-0.01 to 0.01)] or peak cough flow [-0.002 L/min/d (-0.02 to 0.02)]. Thirty-day PPCs were also not different between groups [adjusted odds ratio 0.67 (0.23-1.99)].
In this randomized controlled trial, staff-directed facilitation of early mobilization did not improve postoperative pulmonary function or reduce PPCs within an enhanced recovery pathway for colorectal surgery.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02131844.