Prehabilitation before elective coronary artery bypass grafting surgery: a scoping review

Dorte Baek Olsen*, Preben U. Pedersen, Marianne Wetendorff Noergaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this scoping review was to identify and map existing preoperative interventions, referred to as prehabilitation, in adult patients at home awaiting elective coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. This review also sought to report feasibility and patient experiences to shape clinical practice and underpin a future systematic review.

INTRODUCTION: As patients age, comorbidities become more common. Strategies to improve postoperative outcomes and to accelerate recovery are required in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting. Prehabilitation refers to a proactive process of increasing functional capacity before surgery to improve the patient's ability to withstand upcoming physiologic stress and, thus, avoid postoperative complications.

INCLUSION CRITERIA: Studies that included adult patients waiting for coronary artery bypass grafting surgery at home and that described interventions optimizing preoperative physical and psychological health in any setting were included.

METHODS: The JBI methodology for conducting scoping reviews was used to identify relevant studies in MEDLINE (PubMed), CINAHL (EBSCOhost), Cochrane Library, Embase (Ovid), Scopus, SweMed+, PsycINFO (EBSCOhost), and PEDro. Gray literature was identified searching Google Scholar, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, MedNar, OpenGrey, NICE Evidence search, and SIGN. Studies in Danish, English, German, Norwegian, and Swedish were considered for inclusion, with no geographical or cultural limitations, or date restrictions. Two independent reviewers screened titles and abstracts, and studies meeting the inclusion criteria were imported into Covidence. Sixty-seven studies from November 1987 to September 2022 were included. The data extraction tool used for the included papers was developed in accordance with the review questions and tested for adequacy and comprehensiveness with the first 5 studies by the same 2 independent reviewers. The tool was then edited to best reflect the review questions. Extracted findings are described and supported by figures and tables.

RESULTS: Sixty-seven studies were eligible for inclusion, representing 28,553 participants. Analyses of extracted data identified various preoperative interventions for optimizing postoperative and psychological outcomes for adult patients awaiting elective coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. Based on similarities, interventions were grouped into 5 categories. Eighteen studies reported on multimodal interventions, 17 reported on psychological interventions, 14 on physical training interventions, 13 on education interventions, and 5 on oral health interventions.

CONCLUSION: This scoping review provides a comprehensive summary of strategies that can be applied when developing a prehabilitation program for patients awaiting elective coronary artery bypass surgery. Although prehabilitation has been tested extensively and appears to be feasible, available evidence is mostly based on small studies. For patients undergoing elective coronary artery bypass grafting to derive benefit from prehabilitation, methodologically robust clinical trials and knowledge synthesis are required to identify optimal strategies for patient selection, intervention design, adherence, and intervention duration. Future research should also consider the cost-effectiveness of prehabilitation interventions before surgery. Finally, there is a need for more qualitative studies examining whether individual interventions are meaningful and appropriate to patients, which is an important factor if interventions are to be effective.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJBI evidence synthesis
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1190-1242
Number of pages53
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023 JBI.


  • Adult
  • Coronary Artery Bypass/adverse effects
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Postoperative Complications/prevention & control
  • Preoperative Care/methods
  • Preoperative Exercise
  • coronary artery bypass grafting surgery
  • feasibility
  • prehabilitation
  • adults
  • preoperative interventions


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