The following article, Walking 7,500 Steps Before Surgery Cuts Complications In Half: Study, was first published on Flag And Cross.
Patients who walk more than 7,500 daily steps before undergoing surgery halve the chances of post-op complications, according to a new study.
Using Fitbit activity tracking data, researchers identified people who might be at higher risk of issues after going under the knife.
Fewer daily steps were associated with a higher rate of post-op complications.
However, the odds of complications within 90 days of being discharged from the hospital were slashed by more than half (51 percent) if a patient took more than 7,500 steps a day before surgery, after adjusting for the complexity of the procedure and other factors.
Previous research has shown that postoperative complications typically occur in around 30 percent of patients, and about half of all complications occur after the patient leaves the hospital.
Study lead study author Carson Gehl said: “Fitbits and other wearable devices could potentially be linked to Electronic Health Records and have that data be something that surgeons consider when planning perioperative care for their patients.
“This could really come to fruition to improve postoperative outcomes.”
The American research team analyzed health data for 475 people who used a Fitbit device, worn like a watch, that measured their daily steps.
They said it is the first to examine the association between physical activity, as measured by a Fitbit, and 90-day postoperative complications.
Gehl, a second-year medical student at the Medical College of Wisconsin, said: “We used the combination of EHRs and Fitbit data to uncover how to potentially improve surgical outcomes.
“In our study, we looked at how many steps patients recorded on any given day, which is a proxy for physical activity.
“However, the fitness data wasn’t limited to the immediate preoperative period.
“The length of their activity record could be six months or several years before surgery.
“This is more reflective of chronic physical activity habits, versus the physical activity in the immediate preoperative period.”
Participants underwent a wide range of operations, including general surgery, orthopedic surgery, and neurosurgery, and were an average age of 57.
Around one in eight of the participants (12.6 percent) experienced a complication within 90 days of surgery.
The odds of experiencing a complication within 30 days after surgery were 45 percent less if patients took more than 7,500 steps per day prior to surgery than if their Fitbit recorded fewer than 7,500 steps.
After adjusting for other factors, the odds of experiencing a complication were 51 percent lower if patients had Fitbit data showing they had walked more than 7,500 steps per day before surgery.
Gehl said: “If we find people who are at high risk, using these Fitbit tools, we could monitor them more closely following their procedure because that allows us to catch problems before they progress beyond control.
He added: “Another goal of our research is to modify physical activity in the preoperative period and improve postoperative outcomes. We need more studies and evidence to answer that question.”
The findings are due to be presented at the American College of Surgeons (ACS) annual Clinical Congress in Boston, Massachusetts.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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