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J Vasc Surg. 2019 Aug;70(2):629-640.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2019.01.050. Epub 2019 Mar 25.

A systematic review of enhanced recovery after surgery for vascular operations.

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Department of Surgery, Division of Vascular Surgery, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. Electronic address:
Department of Surgery, Division of Vascular Surgery, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Me.
Health Science Library, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.
Department of Statistics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.
Department of Surgery, Division of Vascular Surgery, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.



Patients undergoing vascular operations face high rates of intraoperative and postoperative complications and delayed return to baseline. Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS), with its aim of delivering high-quality perioperative care and accelerating recovery, appears well suited to address the needs of this population.


In accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, we performed a systematic review to characterize the use and effectiveness of ERAS in all types of vascular and endovascular operations. We queried MEDLINE (through PubMed), Embase, Web of Science, Scopus, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Prospero, and Google Scholar. Two reviewers independently completed screening, review, and quality assessment. Eligible articles described the use of ERAS pathways for vascular operations from January 1, 1997, through December 7, 2017. Details regarding patients' demographics and use of the ERAS pathway or selected ERAS components were extracted. When available, results including perioperative morbidity, mortality, and in-hospital length of stay were collected. The studies with control groups that evaluated ERAS-like pathways were meta-analyzed using random-effects meta-analysis.


In the final analysis, 19 studies were included: four randomized controlled trials and 15 observational studies. By Let Evidence Guide Every New Decision (LEGEND) criteria, the two good-quality studies are randomized controlled trials that evaluated a specific part of an ERAS pathway. All other studies were considered poor quality. Meta-analysis of the five studies describing ERAS-like pathways demonstrated a reduction in length of stay by 3.5 days (P = .0012).


Based on systematic review, the use of ERAS pathways in vascular surgery is limited, and existing evidence of their feasibility and effectiveness is low quality. There is minimal poor- to moderate-quality evidence describing the use of ERAS pathways in open aortic operations. There is scarce, poor-quality evidence related to ERAS pathways in lower extremity operations and no published evidence related to ERAS pathways in endovascular operations. Although the risk of bias is high in most of the studies done to date, all of them observed improvements in length of stay, postoperative diet, and ambulation. It is reasonable to consider the implementation of ERAS pathways in the care of vascular surgery patients, specifically those undergoing open aortic operations, but many of the details will be based on limited data and extrapolation from other surgical specialties until further research is done.


Clinical protocols; Critical pathways; Enhanced recovery; Intraoperative complications; Postoperative complications; Vascular surgery


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