Published: 31-05-2021 11:19 | Updated: 03-06-2021 11:09

New thesis evaluates the respiratory effects of immediate mobilization after elective abdominal surgery

Hi there, Anna Svensson-Raskh, PhD student at the Division of Physiotherapy! On June 18 you will defend your thesis “Mobilization immediately after elective abdominal surgery – Respiratory effects and patients' and healthcare professionals' experiences". What is the main focus of your thesis?

Anna Svensson-Raskh, PhD student at the Division of Physiotherapy, NVS. Photo: Annika Clemes.

To evaluate the respiratory effects of immediate mobilization, out of bed to sit in a chair, within 2 hours after arrival at the postoperative recovery unit, after elective open- or robot-assisted laparoscopic gynecological, urological or endocrinological abdominal surgery. Further to describe patients' and healthcare professionals' (nurses, assistant nurses and physiotherapists) experiences of such an early mobilization procedure.

Which are the most important results?

In the randomized controlled trial including 214 patients, we found that patients who were mobilized out of bed within 2 hours after elective abdominal surgery improved in respiratory function, in terms of SpO2 and PaO2, compared to those who had bedrest. In interviews with patients who had been mobilized we found that mobilization improved their physical and mental well-being. In interviews with the healthcare professionals, we found that they experienced the postoperative recovery unit as a safe place for initiating mobilization as long as they had access to sufficient resources and a well-functioning multiprofessional team of nurses, assistant nurses and physiotherapists.

How can this new knowledge contribute to the improvement of people’s health? 

To prevent postoperative complications after abdominal surgery, mobilization is highly recommended and suggested to start as soon as possible. Nevertheless, few studies have investigated the isolated effect of mobilization as an intervention and no study has investigated the respiratory effects of immediate postoperative mobilization. Thus, present thesis adds new knowledge to the field of mobilization after elective abdominal surgery. We can confirm that mobilization should start early after surgery in order to improve the patients' respiratory function. Moreover, based on the findings in the thesis, immediate mobilization after elective abdominal surgery is important and beneficial for the patients' physical and mental well-being and should therefore continued to be recommended as a way to facilitate and enhance the recovery after surgery.

What's in the future for you? Will you keep on conducting research? 

At the moment I do not have a definite plan for the future. I still have my clinical work at the ICU (intensive care unit) at Karolinska University Hospital in Solna. Maybe, there will also be room for follow up of post-covid-19 patients. I will be part of two different multicenter-studies, one in trauma and one in surgery. Possibly, there is also an opening for a post-doc position, which would be interesting.