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A simple wireless "off-the-shelf" fitness monitor could help the recovery of patients who have had heart surgery, according to a study to be published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, analyzed a number of patients over the age of 50 who had undergone elective heart surgery. This included coronary artery bypass grafting, valve repair replacement or both.
All patients lived at home, were ambulatory before surgery, and were expected to be in hospital for 5-7 days after the procedures.
All patients were divided into groups:
On day one of recovery, when patients were discharged from the intensive care unit, wireless fitness monitors were attached to the ankle of each individual.
The researchers found that on the second day of recovery, there were large differences in the mobility of patients who were discharged to home independently, compared with those who had been discharged home with health care support (HHC) or to a skilled nursing facility (SNF).
The median number of steps for patients at home were 675, while patients with HHC or SNF took 108 steps. On day 3, self-care patients took 1,170 steps compared with 312 steps from HHC and SNF patients. Similar results were evident on day four, as self-care patients took 1,431 steps compared with 618 steps from HHC and SNF patients.
The researchers also discovered that there were significant differences in the mobility of patients with a short and intermediate hospital stay compared with patients who had a long hospital stay.
For example, on the second recovery day, patients who had a short hospital stay had a median of 818 steps, compared with 514 steps for those with an intermediate hospital stay, and 223 steps in patients who had a long hospital stay.
Dr. David Cook of the Mayo Clinic and lead study author, says that although these results were to be expected, they show the first evidence that remote monitoring of mobility is effective in assessing recovery following surgery. He says this data helps improve recovery outcomes.
Dr. Cook adds:
"This type of technology will transform the assessment of surgical and medical recovery.
When an older patient is hospitalized, whether it is for surgery or another medical condition, that patient's ability to regain strength and mobility is a primary determinant of whether the patient can go home and be independent."
Dr. Claude Deschamps, department chair of surgery at the Mayo Clinic and senior author of the study, says that the combination of similar types of technologies and the ability to report data could change the way health care is delivered and managed.
"The benefits this technology brings to most elderly hospitalized patients will be tremendous," he adds.
"The technology is already robust and reliable, and the next 3 years will bring the software integration to allow the data to easily populate electronic medical records or patient dashboards."
The idea of using technology to assist in patients' recovery and hospital efficiency is growing. Recent research from the University of California, Los Angeles, revealed a new portable smartphone device that can conduct kidney tests and automatically send results to a database or health care provider in seconds.
Another study from UK researchers revealed the development of a portable eye clinic in a smartphone that can diagnose cataracts, check the retina for signs of disease and check prescriptions for vision lenses.
Written by Honor Whiteman
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without the permission of Medical News Today.
Functional recovery in the elderly after major surgery: Assessment of mobility recovery using wireless technology, published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, September 2013.
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