Sarcopenia, which involves two important aspects, namely skeletal muscle loss and decreased physical function, was suggested as a poor prognostic factor in esophageal cancer surgery. The purpose of this study was to clarify the perioperative change in daily physical activity and propose effective preventive strategies. We prospectively enrolled patients with esophageal cancer who were scheduled to undergo radical esophagectomy. Their daily physical activities were recorded using an accelerometer before surgery, immediately after discharge, and 6 months after surgery. The relationships of physical activity level and the perioperative factors, especially skeletal muscle change, with the risk factors of low daily activity level were investigated. The data of 20/28 enrolled patients were analyzed. The mean activity level of the 20 patients decreased after discharge and subsequently recovered on postoperative month 6. The percentage of activity levels >1.5 metabolic equivalents/day after discharge significantly correlated to the change rate in total muscle cross-sectional area from baseline to POM 6 (r = 0.452, P = 0.045). In a stepwise multiple regression analysis, age, neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and anastomotic leakage were identified as negative associated factors of activity time at >1.5 metabolic equivalents at postoperative month 6. Activity level immediately after discharge was significantly associated with skeletal muscle loss at postoperative month 6 in patients with esophageal cancer who underwent esophagectomy. Elderly patients and patients who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy and had an anastomotic leakage might require intensive prevention. Prospective interventions aimed at increasing daily activity can prevent sarcopenia.
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