Due to the aging population, over the next ten years there will be a substantial increase in the number of elderly patients requiring surgical treatment. This creates a challenge for our healthcare system, as elderly surgical patients often have multiple co-morbidities, disabilities, and decreased physiological reserve leading to increased hospital stays and postoperative complications. The term ‘frailty’ is used to describe this decreased physiological reserve, and increased frailty results in a diminished response to stress. Frail surgical patients are thus at increased risk for morbidity and mortality in the postoperative period. The ability to ‘prehabilitate’, or reduce frailty and increase functional capacity preoperatively, may improve patient outcomes and decrease disability. Using a team science approach, we are using ischemic preconditioning to improve vascular function in order to increase preoperative functional capacity and decrease postoperative complications. This project is in collaboration with the departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Surgery, and Biostatistics.


  • Matt Durand PhD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
  • Carrie Peterson MD, MS Department of Surgery
  • Kirk Ludwig MD, Department of Surgery
  • Timothy Ridolfi MD, Department of Surgery
Click to enlarge: