A different way of treating frail patients at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) has resulted in far fewer deaths and complications following colorectal and abdominal surgery. And its success has spurred other hospitals to introduce similar programmes.
The treatment's secret: Prehabilitation, or getting patients to eat better and exercise more before the operation to boost their health.
Ten years ago, when 100 frail elderly patients were operated on for colon cancer at KTPH, about 10 would die within 30 days of surgery, while 31 would suffer from major complications that could see them admitted to the intensive care unit.
Currently, with the new treatment, two die and five have major complications such as infections and respiratory or organ failure.
This means that 98% recover full use of their functions within six weeks of surgery. On top of that, they spend 2 and a half days fewer in the hospital.
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