Content » Vol 49, Issue 1

Original report

Effect of physical activity in the first five days after cardiac surgery

Sean F. Mungovan, Preetraj Singh, Gregory C. Gass, Neil A. Smart, Andrew D. Hirschhorn
Westmead Private Physiotherapy, Clinical Research Institute, Sydney, Australia
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2165


Objectives: To quantify physiotherapist-supervised and independent physical activity undertaken from the first to the fifth day after cardiac surgery (POD1 to POD5), and to relate the amount of physical activity undertaken with hospital stay and postoperative physiological functional capacity on POD6.
Methods: Physiotherapist-supervised and independent physical activity were monitored in 83 adult patients undergoing cardiac surgery, using a bi-axial accelerometer and skin sensors that measured, galvanic skin response and body temperature. Patients completed a 6-min walk test (6MWT) on POD6. Step count and physical activity intensity (METs; metbolic equivalents) were the main outcome measures.
Results: Males exhibited significantly higher physiotherapist-supervised and independent physical activity step counts and time ≥ 3 METS (p < 0. 0001). The 6MWT distance on POD6 was greater in men (mean 393 m, standard deviation (SD) 108 m) than women (mean 300 m, SD 121 m) (p = 0. 005). Mean length of stay in hospital was 9 days (SD 3 days) and was negatively correlated with overall physiotherapist-supervised (R = –0. 70), independent physical activity step counts (R = –0. 62), and combined physiotherapist-supervised (R = –0. 65) and independent (R = –0. 43) physical activity time ≥ 3 METs.
Conclusion: Physiotherapist-supervised activity fosters improvements in postoperative physiological functional capacity and reduces length of stay in hospital following cardiac surgery.

Lay Abstract


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