A WOMAN from East Lancashire has taken part in a medical trial that could help patients recover faster from surgery.

Thanks to the trial undertaken by Julie Gray, 61, from Bacup, researchers now believe smart watches could be used to help prepare patients for major surgery and to help their recovery.

Mrs Gray, a professional singer and grandmother of nine, was one of 22 patients undergoing abdominal surgery at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester who used a Fitbit to complete exercise before the operation, which researchers now believe has lead to her needing to spend less time in post-op.

She said: “The Fitbit certainly made me do more exercise.

“I’m a convert and I’ve now bought my own Fitbit and given one to my husband and daughter, it keeps track of your general health and sleep patterns which is also really helpful.

“In 2019 I had an 11 hour operation but came out of it feeling better than before.

“I think it did help me with the recovery and I was up and about not long after the operation. I even joined a gym and did spin and step classes.”

Mrs Gray left hospital nine days after her operation which according to The Christie is three days earlier than the average 12-day stay this kind of operation would entail.

Along with the other participants, she was constantly monitored remotely during the trial to ensure they were completing the daily activities she’d been set.

Feedback from the participants found the smart watches encouraged them to complete their exercises.

The trial was sponsored by the University of Manchester and led by honorary senior lecturer and The Christie consultant surgeon Omer Aziz.

Mr Aziz said: “To the best of our knowledge this is the first research into using smart watch technology to benefit patients’ outcomes post-surgery.

“This novel approach could mean more patients are fitter for surgery resulting in a shorter recovery time and less days in hospital."