Fitbit step counts during inpatient recovery from cancer surgery as a predictor of readmission

Carissa A. Low, Dana H. Bovbjerg, Steven Ahrendt, M. Haroon Choudry, Matthew Holtzman, Heather L. Jones, James F. Pingpank, Lekshmi Ramalingam, Herbert J. Zeh, Amer H. Zureikat, David L. Bartlett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Background Postoperative ambulation is encouraged to promote timely recovery but is rarely monitored objectively or examined as a predictor of clinical outcomes, despite growing availability of wearable devices that allow passive quantification and remote real-time monitoring of the number of steps taken during recovery. Purpose To determine whether the number of steps taken during inpatient recovery predicts 30- and 60-day readmission risk after metastatic cancer surgery. Methods Patients diagnosed with metastatic peritoneal cancer and scheduled for surgical resection were enrolled in this observational cohort study at their preoperative clinic visit. Fitbits were placed on patients’ wrists upon transfer from the ICU following surgery and worn for the duration of their inpatient stay. Information about hospital readmission was extracted from electronic medical records. Results Seventy-one patients participated in the study (mean age = 57.14, range = 31–80 years; 42% female; 51% diagnosed with appendiceal cancer). Mean steps per day were calculated for each participant over the entire inpatient recovery period (mean stay = 12.12 days, 4–37 days). Readmission within 30 and 60 days was medically indicated for 34% and 39% of patients, respectively. After statistically adjusting for age, body mass index, comorbidity, and length of postoperative stay, higher mean steps per day predicted lower 30-day and 60-day readmission risk. Conclusions Higher Fitbit step counts during inpatient recovery predicted lower risk of 30- and 60-day readmission after surgery for metastatic peritoneal cancer. Results suggest that passively monitoring perioperative ambulation may identify patients at risk for readmission and highlight opportunities for behavioral intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-92
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 5 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Physical activity
  • Readmission
  • Surgical oncology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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