Physical and Nutritional Prehabilitation in Older Patients With Colorectal Carcinoma: A Systematic Review

S.M.L.M. Looijaard, Monique Slee-Valentijn, René H J Otten, Andrea B. Maier*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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    BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Sarcopenia and malnourishment are highly prevalent in older patients with colorectal cancer (CRC), who form a growing group of patients at risk of adverse outcome after surgery. Intervention on physical function and/or nutritional status may decrease the risk of postoperative complications. However, the overall effect of preoperative physical and nutritional interventions (better known as prehabilitation) in older patients with CRC remains unknown. The objective was to review the literature on physical and nutritional prehabilitation performed as observational cohort studies or randomized controlled trials in patients 60 years and older undergoing elective CRC surgery.

    METHODS: We searched PubMed,, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Library from inception to July 16, 2015, for relevant literature. Search terms included colorectal cancer, aged, pre- and perioperative period, surgery, physical activity, and nutrition.

    RESULTS: A total of 6 studies were included: 1 study applied a physical intervention, 3 studies applied a nutritional intervention, and 2 studies applied a combination of both interventions. None of the preoperative interventions significantly reduced length of stay, mortality, or readmission rates.

    CONCLUSIONS: Physical and nutritional prehabilitation in older patients with CRC has not shown a significant reduction in postoperative complications or length of stay. One study that examined the effect of a perioperative nutritional supplement reported a reduction in postoperative complications. Future research should explore targeted combined interventions, taking into account physical and nutritional patient requirements.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)236-244
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of geriatric physical therapy (2001)
    Issue number4
    Early online date1 Oct 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


    • aged
    • colorectal neoplasms
    • exercise therapy
    • nutrition therapy
    • prehabilitation


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