Activity matters: How Fitbit can help us understand cancer surgery recovery

December 06, 2017

A new study published in Annals of Behavioral Medicine finds that more activity during inpatient recovery predicted lower risk of 30- and 60-day readmission after surgery for metastatic peritoneal cancer. By monitoring patients using Fitbit, researchers found that higher Fitbit steps forecast better patient outcomes.

Exercise is encouraged after surgery and is a key component of recovery, but postoperative exercise is rarely monitored systematically as part of clinical care or examined as a predictor of important clinical outcomes such as readmission.

The recent emergence and growing popularity of commercially available, low cost, reliable wearable devices like Fitbits permit simple, objective, and continuous quantification of physical activity and remote real-time monitoring of patient ambulation, but whether these passively-sensed data can predict subsequent clinically important outcomes remains unclear.

Readmission is common after complex cancer surgeries, with 15-50% of patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge following surgery to remove abdominal cancer. Preventable readmissions are associated with increased health care costs and poor long-term outcomes including early mortality, and patient and family stress and suffering.

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the number of steps taken during inpatient recovery predicts 30- and 60-day readmission risk after metastatic cancer surgery. Patients diagnosed with metastatic peritoneal cancer and scheduled for surgical resection were enrolled in this observational cohort study at their preoperative clinic visit. Fitbits were placed on patients' wrists upon transfer from intensive care following surgery and worn for the duration of their inpatient stay. Information about hospital readmission was extracted from electronic medical records.

Seventy-one patients participated in the study. The researchers calculated mean steps per day for each participant over the entire inpatient recovery period. Readmission within 30 and 60 days was medically indicated for 34% and 39% of patients, respectively. After statistically adjusting for age, body mass index, comorbidity, and length of postoperative stay, higher mean steps per day predicted lower 30-day and 60-day readmission risk.

Higher Fitbit mean daily step counts during inpatient recovery predicted lower risk of 30- and 60-day readmission after metastatic cancer surgery. These associations persisted after adjustment for demographic and medical covariates such as age, diagnosis, and length of postoperative stay as well as preoperative patient-reported exercise frequency.

The researchers believe that remotely monitoring real-time patient ambulation using Fitbit devices may provide opportunities to improve postoperative clinical care with minimal burden to patients and clinical providers.
"Fitbit step counts during inpatient recovery from cancer surgery as a predictor of readmission" is available at:

Direct correspondence to: Carissa A. Low
Departments of Medicine (Division of HematologyOncology) and Psychology; Biobehavioral Oncology Program
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
Suite 140, William Cooper Pavilion, Hillman Cancer Center,
5115 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15232

To request a copy of the study, please contact:

Daniel Luzer

Sharing on social media? Find Oxford Journals online at @OxfordJournals

Oxford University Press USA

Related Surgery Articles from Brightsurf:

Decision conflict before cancer surgery correlates with lower activity after surgery
Nearly one-third of cancer patients who decide to undergo surgery for their condition may have second thoughts, and this decision conflict may lead to less favorable treatment outcomes in both the near- and long-term, according to a team of investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital and Ariadne Labs.

Examining association between weight loss before bariatric surgery, risk of death after surgery
Researchers looked at whether a patient's body weight and weight loss before bariatric surgery were associated with risk of death within 30 days after surgery using data from nearly 500,000 patients in the US and Canada.

Guidelines for thyroid surgery published in Annals of Surgery
The first set of comprehensive, evidence-based clinical guidelines for surgical treatment of thyroid disease -- developed by an expert panel assembled by the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons (AAES) -- was published today by Annals of Surgery.

Colorectal surgery patients use fewer opioids, report less pain with enhanced recovery after surgery
Colorectal surgery patients who were a part of an enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) program had less pain, while using nearly half as many opioids, according to research being presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2019 annual meeting.

Video assisted lung surgery reduces complications and hospital stays compared to open surgery
Video-assisted thoracic surgery is associated with lower in-hospital complications and shorter length of stay compared with open surgery among British patients who were diagnosed at an early stage of lung cancer, according to research presented today the IASLC 2019 World Conference on Lung Cancer, hosted by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

Most deaths related to noncardiac surgery occur after surgery and after discharge from hospital
It's not the operating room that is risky for patients undergoing noncardiac surgery; it's the recovery period.

Study looks at opioid use after knee surgery
A small study looked at whether reducing the number of opioid tablets prescribed after knee surgery would reduce postoperative use and if preoperative opioid-use education would reduce it even more.

Surgery patients are getting older every year
A new BJS (British Journal of Surgery) analysis reveals that people undergoing surgery in England are getting older at a faster rate than the general population.

Children requiring thyroid surgery have better outcomes at high-volume surgery centers
New research recently published in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery found that post-operative success rates of pediatric thyroid patients, particularly children who require a thyroidectomy, correlate with the institution's patient volume.

Do negative public attitudes toward weight loss surgery stop some patients from having surgery?
Most patients who qualify for weight loss surgery don't have the procedure despite its safety and effectiveness.

Read More: Surgery News and Surgery Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to