BACKGROUND: Optimal recovery can be defined as the adequate in-hospital length of stay with minimal postoperative complications and readmissions. The quality of recovery beyond the immediate postoperative period after major emergency abdominal surgery is yet to be fully described. We hypothesized that long-term measures of overall recovery were affected after surgery. The study aimed to investigate patient-focused recovery-related parameters one year after major emergency abdominal surgery.
METHOD: A prospective study including patients undergoing major emergency abdominal surgery at a Danish secondary referral center. Three questionnaires were answered regarding the recovery following the procedure; Activities Assessment Scale (AAS); Quality of Recovery-15(QoR-15), and Self-complete Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs(S-LANSS). All questionnaires were answered at postoperative day (POD)14, 30, 90, and 365.
RESULTS: 82 patients were included, and 68 were available for follow-up until one year after surgery. The response rates differed between the follow-up time points, with a response rate of 85%(n=59) at POD30 and 50% (n=36) at POD365. A decrease in the level of physical function following surgery was observed in 60% of the patients at POD14, which improved to 36% at POD365. Twenty-four patients (48%) reported postoperative pain at POD14, which declined to 9(26%) at POD365. The maximum overall recovery was reached at POD30, which remained stable throughout the study period.
CONCLUSION: One in three patients reported physical functional impairment, and one in four patients reported pain one year after their surgical procedure.