Publications by authors named "Henry Puff"

2 Publications

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General and Disease-Specific Health Indicator Changes Associated with Inpatient Rehabilitation.

J Am Med Dir Assoc 2020 12 28;21(12):2017.e10-2017.e27. Epub 2020 Jul 28.

Division of Physiology, Otto Loewi Research Center, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria; Human Research Institute, Weiz, Austria.

Objectives: Rehabilitation plays a vital role in the mitigation and improvement of functional limitations associated with aging and chronic conditions. Moderating factors such as sex, age, the medical diagnosis, and rehabilitation timing for admission status, as well as the expected change related to inpatient rehabilitation, are examined to provide a valid basis for the routine assessment of the quality of medical outcomes.

Design: An observational study was carried out, placing a focus on general and disease-specific health measurements, to assess representative results of multidisciplinary inpatient rehabilitation. Aspects that were possibly confounding and introduced bias were controlled based on data from a quasi-experimental (waiting) control group.

Measures: Existing data or general health indicators were extracted from medical records. The indicators included blood pressure, resting heart rate, self-assessed health, and pain, as well as more disease-specific indicators of physical function and performance (eg, activities of daily living, walking tests, blood lipids). These are used to identify moderating factors related to health outcomes.

Setting And Participants: A standardized collection of routine data from 16,966 patients [61.5 ± 12.5 years; 7871 (46%) women, 9095 (54%) men] with different medical diagnoses before and after rehabilitation were summarized using a descriptive evaluation in terms of a content and factor analysis.

Results: Without rehabilitation, general health indicators did not improve independently and remained stable at best [odds ratio (OR) = 0.74], whereas disease-specific indicators improved noticeably after surgery (OR = 3.20). Inpatient rehabilitation was shown to reduce the risk factors associated with certain lifestyles, optimize organ function, and improve well-being in most patients (>70%; cutoff: z-difference >0.20), with a standardized mean difference (SMD) seen in overall medical quality outcome of -0.48 ± 0.37 [pre- vs post-rehabilitation: η = 0.622; d = -1.22; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) -1.24 to -1.19]. The baseline medical values obtained at the beginning of rehabilitation were influenced by indication, age, and sex (all P < .001); however, these factors have less significant effects on improvements in general health indicators (η < 0.01). According to the disease-specific results, the greatest improvements were found in older patients (SMD for patients >60 vs ≤60 years: 95% CI 0.08-0.11) and during the early rehabilitation stage (η = 0.063).

Conclusions And Implications: Compared with those who received no inpatient rehabilitation, patients who received rehabilitation showed greater improvements in 2 independent areas, general and disease-specific health measures, regardless of their diagnosis, age, and sex. Due to the study design and the use of a nonrandomized waiting group, causal conclusions must be drawn with caution. However, the comparability and stability of the presented results strongly support the validity of the observed improvements associated with inpatient rehabilitation.
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December 2020

Dynamics of Vagal Activity Due to Surgery and Subsequent Rehabilitation.

Front Neurosci 2019 5;13:1116. Epub 2019 Nov 5.

Human Research Institute, Weiz, Austria.

Background: Vagal activity is critical for maintaining key body functions, including the stability of inflammatory control. Its weakening, such as in the aftermatch of a surgery, leaves the body vulnerable to diverse inflammatory conditions, including sepsis.

Methods: Vagal activity can be measured by the cardiorespiratory interaction known as respiratory sinus arrhythmia or high-frequency heart-rate variability (HRV). We examined the vagal dynamics before, during and after an orthopedic surgery. 39 patients had their HRV measured around the period of operation and during subsequent rehabilitation. Measurements were done during 24 h circadian cycles on ten specific days. For each patient, the circadian vagal activity was calculated from HRV data.

Results: Our results confirm the deteriorating effect of surgery on vagal activity. Patients with stronger pre-operative vagal activity suffer greater vagal withdrawal during the peri-operative phase, but benefit from stronger improvements during post-operative period, especially during the night. Rehabilitation seems not only to efficiently restore the vagal activity to pre-operative level, but in some cases to actually improve it.

Discussion: Our findings indicate that orthopedic rehabilitation has the potential to strengthen the vagal activity and hence boost inflammatory control. We conclude that providing a patient with a vagal reinforcement procedure to the surgery ("pre-habilitation") might be a beneficial strategy against post-operative complications. The study also shows the clinical usefulness of quantifying the cardiorespiratory interactions.
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November 2019