Cost-effectiveness of preoperative physiotherapy

...can complications and quality of life after major abdominal surgery be improved?

With 300 to 500 operations per 100,000 people annually, abdominal surgery is the most common major surgery type performed in developed countries, with volumes increasing at 2 to 5 percent per year.

Patients having surgery account for a quarter of hospital bed days, yet they rack up half of all hospital costs. Complications after abdominal surgery are the principal driver for increased costs, with higher expenditure on pharmaceuticals, diagnostic testing and lengths of stay in the intensive care unit and surgical ward.

Among the most common complications after major abdominal surgery are respiratory complications.

This trial found that if a hospital is willing to pay $18,000 to prevent one respiratory complication (i.e., less than half the cost of a complication), preoperative physiotherapy is 80 percent likely to be cost-effective. Improved cost-effectiveness and gains in quality-adjusted life years were particularly evident when experienced physiotherapists delivered the pre-operative intervention.

> From: Boden et al., J Physiother 66 (2020) 180-187 . All rights reserved to Australian Physiotherapy Association. Click here for the online summary.

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