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The impact of prehabilitation in upper gastrointestinal cancer underwent major surgery.

INTRODUCTION: Several risk factors found to be associated with postoperative complications and cancer surgery, which carry a significant morbidity risk to cancer patients. Therefore, prehabilitation is necessary to improve the functional capability and nutritional status of a patient prior to surgery, so that the patient can withstand any postoperative activity and associated deterioration. Thus, this study aims to assess the effectiveness of prehabilitation interventions on the functional status of patients with gastric and oesophageal cancer who underwent esophagectomy and gastrectomy.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: An interventional study was carried out among oesophageal and gastric cancer patients who had undergone surgery at the National Cancer Institute of Malaysia. The prehabilitation process took a maximum of two weeks, depending on the patient's optimisation before surgery. The prehabilitation is based on functional capacity (ECOG performance status), muscle function (handgrip strength), cardio-respiratory function (peak flow meter) and nutritional status (calorie and protein). Postoperative outcomes are measured based on the length of hospital stay, complications, and Clavien-Dindo Classification.

RESULTS: Thirty-one patients were recruited to undergo a prehabilitation intervention prior to gastrectomy (n=21) and esophagectomy (n=10). Demographically, most of the cancer patients were males (67.7%) with an ideal mean of BMI (23.5±6.0). Physically, the majority of them had physical class (ASA grade) Grade 2 (67.7%), ECOG performance status of 1 (61.3%) and SGA grade B (51.6%). The functional capacity and nutritional status showed a significant improvement after one week of prehabilitation interventions: peak expiratory flow meter (p<0.001), handgrip (p<0.001), ECOG performance (p<0.001), walking distance (p<0.001), incentive spirometry (p<0.001), total body calorie (p<0.001) and total body protein (p=0.004). However, those patients who required two weeks of prehabilitation for optimization showed only significant improvement in peak expiratory flow meter (p<0.001), handgrip (p<0.001), and incentive spirometry (p<0.001). Prehabilitation is significantly associated postoperatively with the length of hospital stay (p=0.028), complications (p=0.011) and Clavien-Dindo Classification (p=0.029).

CONCLUSION: Prehabilitation interventions significantly increase the functional capacity and nutritional status of cancer patients preoperatively; concurrently reducing hospital stays and complications postoperatively. However, certain cancer patients might require over two weeks of prehabilitation to improve the patient's functional capacity and reduce complications postoperatively.

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