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Ann Thorac Surg. 2018 Jun;105(6):1597-1604. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2018.01.080. Epub 2018 Mar 3.

Implementing a Thoracic Enhanced Recovery Program: Lessons Learned in the First Year.

Author information

1
Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia. Electronic address: lm6yb@virginia.edu.
2
Perioperative Services, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia.
3
Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia.
4
Department of Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia.
5
Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.
6
Department of Anesthesia, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

To minimize the stress of operations, improve the patient experience, reduce variability, and optimize resource utilization, we implemented a thoracic enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocol and evaluated progress after 1 year.

METHODS:

Two protocols were developed: video-assisted thoracic surgery (ERAS-VATS) and thoracotomy (ERAS-T). Each incorporated preoperative patient education, carbohydrate loading, opioid-sparing analgesia, conservative fluid management, and early ambulation. Patient outcomes, length of stay, pain scores, opioid use, fluid administration, and cost for ERAS patients were compared with historic controls from the year before program initiation.

RESULTS:

Historic VATS (n = 162) were compared with 81 ERAS-VATS patients. Median postoperative morphine equivalents (86 versus 22 mg, p < 0.0001), total fluid balance (1279 versus 227 mL, p < 0.0001), and mean inflation adjusted hospital costs ($20,169 versus $14,870, p = 0.0003) all decreased significantly. Historic thoracotomy patients (n = 62) were compared with 58 ERAS-T patients. Median postoperative morphine equivalents (130 versus 54 mg, p < 0.0001), total fluid balance (788 versus -489 mL, p = 0.012), length of stay (6.0 versus 4.0 days, p = 0.009), and mean inflation adjusted hospital costs ($41,950 versus $26,089, p < 0.00001) all decreased significantly.

CONCLUSIONS:

Implementation of thoracic ERAS is a dynamic process with potential to improve outcomes in thoracic surgical procedures. In the first year we shortened length of stay, decreased opioid usage, minimized fluid overload, and decreased hospital costs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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