Prehabilitation of Frail Surgical Cancer Patients Using Remote Ischemic Preconditioning (Prehab)

  • End date
    Feb 21, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Medical College of Wisconsin
Updated on 28 February 2022
metastatic colon cancer


This project will examine the efficacy of a simple, cost-effective, non-invasive intervention, called remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC), to reduce frailty in pre-surgical, frail, elderly patients with colon cancer. The investigators hypothesize that RIPC will reduce frailty in the pre-surgical period (as assessed by distance walked during the 6-minute walk test), improve functional capacity 4-weeks postoperatively, and reduce intraoperative blood pressure variability. If successful, future studies will examine the efficacy of RIPC to improve surgical outcomes in frail cancer patients.


Remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC) was first described three decades ago as an intervention to protect vital organs from ischemic injury. RIPC occurs when a tissue is made transiently ischemic (5 minutes) for repeated bouts (5 times) prior to the longer ischemic insult. Recently it has been shown exercise performance and motor function are improved in young, healthy individuals when RIPC is performed on the arm or leg using a simple blood pressure cuff to occlude blood flow to the limb. The application of RIPC to individuals with reduced functional capacity, however, is largely unexplored. The study team was the first to apply RIPC to chronic stroke survivors with reduced physical function, and two weeks of RIPC increases walking speed, paretic muscle strength and fatigue resistance. Advanced age and cancer are both dramatic accelerators of frailty and frail patients have poor surgical outcomes. Therefore, the investigators propose to apply this non-invasive, simple intervention as a "prehabiliative" therapy to elderly patients with colon cancer during the perioperative period. The investigators will enroll 96 colon cancer patients aged 55-85 who are 17 days prior to scheduled curative resection of colon cancer. After study enrollment, all participants will perform the six-minute walk test as a measure of frailty. Participants will then be randomized to receive either RIPC on their upper, non-dominant arm daily for 14 days prior to surgery, or to receive standard of care (no intervention). After 14 days of either RIPC or no intervention, the 6-minute walk test will be re-assessed within 48 hours of surgery. The primary study outcome will be the difference in six-minute walk distance (in meters) between patients in the RIPC group vs. those in the standard of care group following the two-week pre-operative intervention period (Aim 1). The investigators hypothesize that patients in the RIPC group will walk further during the six-minute walk test than those in the standard of care group due to the well-defined effects of RIPC to improve athletic performance, cardiovascular function, and strength in healthy individuals. A secondary study outcome will be the difference in six-minute walk test distance between the RIPC and standard of care group 4-weeks postoperatively (Aim 2). The investigators hypothesize that patients in the RIPC group will have more rapid recovery from surgery, which would be evidenced by increased walking endurance post-operatively. Another secondary study outcome will be the amount of intraoperative blood pressure variability (time systolic pressure is above or below 135 mmHg or 95 mmHg, respectively) between the RIPC and control groups (Aim 3). The investigators hypothesize that RIPC will reduce intraoperative blood pressure variability due to the well described effects of RIPC to improve systemic vascular function. Future larger studies will examine the effects of RIPC prehabilitation on surgical outcomes such as length of hospital stay and all-cause mortality in frail, elderly patients with colon cancer as well as other patient cohorts with reduced functional capacity.

Condition Colon Cancer, Fragility, Prehabilitaiton, Surgery
Treatment Remote ischemic preconditioning
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03853473
SponsorMedical College of Wisconsin
Last Modified on28 February 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Be between the ages of 55-85
Have a positive diagnosis of colon cancer or suspected colon cancer based on pathology report
Be scheduled for curative resection of non-metastatic colon cancer
Have a 6MWT distance 80% of predicted value based on age and sex

Exclusion Criteria

Condition which prevents walking
Any condition in which compression of the arm or transient ischemia is contraindicated (e.g. wounds in the arm)
Neurodegenerative disorder
Unstable angina in previous month
MI during previous month
Clear my responses

How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a study center
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
  • Sign up as volunteer  to help accelerate the development of new treatments and to get notified about similar trials.

You are contacting

Investigator Avatar

Primary Contact


Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

Learn more

If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

Learn more

Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

Learn more

Similar trials to consider


Browse trials for

Not finding what you're looking for?

Every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers step forward to participate in research. Sign up as a volunteer and receive email notifications when clinical trials are posted in the medical category of interest to you.

Sign up as volunteer

user name

Added by • 



Reply by • Private

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur, adipisicing elit. Ipsa vel nobis alias. Quae eveniet velit voluptate quo doloribus maxime et dicta in sequi, corporis quod. Ea, dolor eius? Dolore, vel!

  The passcode will expire in None.

No annotations made yet

Add a private note
  • abc Select a piece of text from the left.
  • Add notes visible only to you.
  • Send it to people through a passcode protected link.
Add a private note