The Effect of Ambulation on Recovery from Postoperative Ileus


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Abstract

To determine whether ambulation hastens recovery from ileus following laparotomy, 34 patients were studied, 10 of whom followed an ambulatory regimen beginning on postoperative day 1 (group A). The other 24 patients (group C did not become ambalatory until postoperative day 4. All patients underwent placement of seromuscular bipolar recording electrodes on the Roux limb, If present, stomach, Jejunum, and colon at laparotomy. Group A was recorded before and after ambutation so comparisons could be made to determine if ambulation had an acute effect on myoelctric activity. Group A preambulation and group C recordings were compared to judge whether there was an overall effect of ambulation on myoelectrlc recovery. No effect on slow wave frequency or percentage of slow waves with associated spike potentials was noted acutely or overall in the stomach, colon, or jejunum In continuity with the duodenal pacemaker. Transient increases in phase II spike activity in patients having a ROHX limb and 'their jejunum distal to the enteroenterostomy were noted on postoperative days 1 to 2, but these differences resolved by postoperative days 3 or 4. The data suggest that ambulation as a means to help resolve postoperative ileus and its accompanying cramps and bloating may be more perceived than real.

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