Now, Dr. Sandeep Khandhar, thoracic surgeon of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia aims to answer this question.
The answer, Dr. Khandhar reports is : Within 1 hour of extubation.
In a recent article by Zosia Chustecka for Medscape, she summarizes Dr. Khandhar’s recent study on post-operative ambulation in thoracic patients. Dr. Khandhar presented these findings at the 2013 World Conference on Lung Cancer this month.
In this study, involving 750 patients who were given a goal of walking 250 feet within an hour after extubation. In this 3 year project, only 10% of patients were unable to walk within one hour after extubation. 60% of patients were able to walk the full distance of 250 feet within an hour of extubation.
In these patients, early mobilization was associated with a significant reduction in length of stay: from 3 to 5 days down to just 1.6 days, as well as a decreased need for intravenous narcotics post-operatively.
We have contacted Dr. Khandhar for additional information about this study.
Chustecka, Z. (2013). Lung Cancer Patients Up and Walking Within Hour of Surgery. Medscape, 28 October 2013. [Medscape requires a free subscription to review articles and news].