Study objectives: This study was conducted to determine the effects of age, gender, comorbid conditions, and exercise on the recovery of self-reported functional capacity after coronary artery surgery, and to identify predictors of 1-year functional capacity.
Patients: One hundred ninety-eight patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery.
Measurements and results: Self-reported functional capacity was evaluated before surgery, and 3 months and 1 year postoperatively using the Veterans Specific Activity Questionnaire (VSAQ). Patients were classified into groups based on age, gender, comorbid conditions, and postoperative exercise. Repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to determine if groups differed with respect to functional capacity recovery and multiple linear regression was used to identify predictors of 1-year VSAQ score. A significant time by age interaction was found (p = 0.0001), with a more protracted recovery for older patients. There were significant group effects for gender (p = 0.0001), and presence of comorbid conditions (p = 0.0009); however, there were no time/group interactions for these variables. A significant group effect was found for postoperative exercise (p = 0.0001), with a trend toward group/time interaction (p = 0.096). Predictors of 1-year functional capacity were VSAQ score in the year prior to surgery and performance of regular aerobic exercise in the postoperative period.
Conclusions: This study suggests that older patients attain good self-reported functional outcomes after surgery; however, the time course for recovery is more protracted than for younger patients. Functional capacity in the year prior to surgery and postoperative exercise are key predictors of 1-year functional capacity.