Effects of Multimodal Inpatient Rehabilitation vs Conventional Pulmonary Rehabilitation on Physical Recovery After Esophageal Cancer Surgery



      To determine the effects of multimodal rehabilitation initiated immediately after esophageal cancer surgery on physical recovery compared with conventional pulmonary rehabilitation.


      Retrospective study.


      Private quaternary care hospital.


      Fifty-nine inpatients (N=59) who participated in either conventional pulmonary rehabilitation (n=30) or in multimodal rehabilitation (n=29) after esophageal cancer surgery were included.


      Both groups performed pulmonary exercises, including deep breathing, chest expansion, inspiratory muscle training, coughing, and manual vibration. In the conventional pulmonary rehabilitation group, light-intensity mat exercise, stretching, and walking were performed. The multimodal rehabilitation group performed resistance exercises and moderate- to high-intensity aerobic interval exercises using a bicycle.

      Main Outcome Measures

      The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Core Quality of Life Questionnaire C30 (EORTC QLQ-C30), pain, 6-minute walk test (6MWT), 30-second chair stand test, and grip strengths were assessed before and after the rehabilitation programs.


      Symptom scales of pain, dyspnea, and insomnia in the EORTC QLQ-C30 as well as 6MWT improved significantly after each program (P<.05). 6MWT (73.1±52.6 vs 28.4±14.3, P<.001, d=1.15), 30-second chair stand test (3.5±3.9 vs 0.35±2.0, P<.001, d=1.06), and left grip strength (1.2±1.3 vs 0.0±1.5, P=.002, d=0.42) improved significantly in the multimodal rehabilitation group compared with the pulmonary rehabilitation group. While right grip strength also showed more improvement for those undergoing the multimodal program, the mean strength difference was not clinically meaningful.


      A multimodal inpatient rehabilitation program instituted early after esophageal cancer surgery improved endurance for walking more than conventional pulmonary rehabilitation as measured by the 6MWT and the 30-second chair stand test.


      List of abbreviations:

      EORTC QLQ-C30 (European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Core Quality of Life Questionnaire C30), NRS (numeric rating scale), QOL (quality of life), 6MWT (6-minute walk test)
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