Background: Postoperative ambulation is an important tenet in enhanced recovery programs. We quantitatively assessed the correlation of decreased postoperative ambulation with postoperative complications and delays in gastrointestinal function. Methods: Patients undergoing major abdominal surgery were fitted with digital ankle pedometers yielding continuous measurements of their ambulation. Primary endpoints were the overall and system-specific complication rates, with secondary endpoints being the time to first passage of flatus and stool, the length of hospital stay, and the rate of readmission. Results: 100 patients were enrolled. We found a significant, independent inverse correlation between the number of steps on the first and second postoperative days (POD1/2) and the incidence of complications as well as the recovery of GI function and the likelihood of readmission (P <.05). POD2 step count was an independent risk factor for severe complications (P =.026). Discussion: Digitally quantified ambulation data may be a prognostic biomarker for the likelihood of severe postoperative complications.
- enhanced recovery programs after surgery
- general surgery
- surgical quality