Prehabilitation for Older Adults Undergoing Liver Resection: Getting Patients and Surgeons Up to Speed



      Morbidity rates following liver resection are high, especially among older adult patients. This review aims to evaluate the evidence surrounding prehabilitation in older patients anticipating liver resection and to describe how prehabilitation may be implemented.


      Problem-based narrative review with case-based discussion.

      Setting and Participants

      All older adults anticipating liver resection inclusive of benign and malignant etiologies in the United States.


      Literature search was performed using MeSH terms and keywords in MEDLINE via PubMed, followed by a manual second search for relevant references within selected articles. Articles were excluded if not available in the English language or did not include patients undergoing hepatectomy.


      Prehabilitation includes a range of activities including exercise, nutrition/dietary changes, and psychosocial interventions that may occur from several weeks to days preceding a surgical operation. Older adult patients who participate in prehabilitation may experience improvement in preoperative candidacy as well as improved postoperative quality of life and faster return to baseline; however, evidence supporting a reduction in postoperative length of stay and perioperative morbidity and mortality is conflicting. A variety of modalities are available for prehabilitation but lack consensus and standardization. For a provider desiring to prescribe prehabilitation, multidisciplinary assessments including geriatric, cardiopulmonary, and future remnant liver function can help determine individual patient needs and select appropriate interventions.

      Conclusions and Implications

      In the older adult patient undergoing liver resection, the current body of literature suggests promising benefits of prehabilitation programs inclusive of functional assessment as well as multimodal interventions. Additional research is needed to determine best practices.


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