To determine the impact of prehabilitation on hospital length of stay, functional capacity, complications, and mortality after surgery in patients with hepatobiliary, colorectal, and upper gastrointestinal cancer.
“Prehabilitation” encompasses exercise, nutrition, and psychosocial interventions to optimize health before surgery. The benefits of prehabilitation are ill-defined.
Medline, Embase and Cochrane Databases were searched systematically for the terms “prehabilitation AND exercise,” “perioperative care AND cancer surgery,” and “colorectal AND hepatobiliary AND hepatopancreatobiliary AND esophagogastric AND recovery AND outcomes.” Primary outcomes analyzed were hospital length of stay, functional capacity, significant postoperative complications (Clavien Dindo ≥ III), and mortality. A meta-analysis was conducted on the effect of all-modality prehabilitation for patients with colorectal, hepatopancreatobiliary and upper gastrointestinal cancer surgery using the raw mean difference, risk difference, and a random-effects model.
Three hundred and seventy seven original titles were identified. Fifteen studies (randomized controlled trials; n = 9 and uncontrolled trials; n = 6) were included in the meta-analysis. Prehabilitation reduced hospital length of stay by 1.78 days versus standard care (95% CI: −3.36, −0.20, P < 0.05). There was no significant difference in functional capacity with prehabilitation determined using the 6-minute walk test (P = 0.816) and no significant reduction in postoperative complications (P = 0.378) or mortality rates (P = 0.114).
Prehabilitation was associated with reduced hospital length of stay but had no effect on functional capacity, postoperative complications, or mortality rates. Thus, prehabilitation should be recommended to accelerate recovery from cancer surgery, demonstrated by reduced hospital length of stay.