BACKGROUND: Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) programs or hip and knee replacements have had a significant effect on streamlining patient care with shorter stays, no increase in complications, and improved outcomes including reduced mortality.
PURPOSE: To compare outcomes following the introduction of an ERAS program for hip and knee replacements developed at our institution with a historical cohort of patients.
METHODS: ERAS protocols were developed at our institution for patients undergoing hip and knee joint replacements. Key aspects were changes in preadmission, a new education session, improved management of perioperative anemia, standardized anesthetic guidelines, day of surgery mobilization, and improved discharge planning. The results of the first 18 months (528 consecutive patients) were compared with those of a historical cohort of 507 patients from the 18 months prior to their introduction.
RESULTS: In the ERAS group, the mean age was 68.3 years for patients who underwent hip replacement and 70.4 years for patients who underwent knee replacement. Thirty-two percent of patients were ASA (American Society of Anesthesiologists) Grades III and IV. The average preoperative Oxford score was 11. The average length of stay (ALOS) fell from 5.6 to 4.3 days for patients who underwent hip replacement and from 5.7 to 4.8 days for patients who underwent knee replacement (p < .001). Ninety-six percent of patients were discharged home. The 30-day readmission rate increased from 3.2% to 5.5% (p = .065). Six-month Oxford knee scores were higher in the ERAS group (39.8 vs. 36.3, p = .03). There was no increase in mortality or early revision rate.
CONCLUSIONS: Substantial reductions in ALOS can be gained with the introduction of ERAS protocols, with high patient satisfaction and no increase in complications in a consecutive unselected group of public hospital patients. This requires a multidisciplinary approach and a strong clinical input.
David P. Gwynne-Jones, MA, FRACS (Orth), Associate Professor, Department of Surgical Sciences, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand; and Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dunedin Public Hospital, Southern District Health Board Dunedin, New Zealand.
Ginny Martin, PGDip, RN, Registered Nurse, Dunedin Public Hospital, Southern District Health Board Dunedin, New Zealand.
Chris Crane, PGDip (Public Health), BSc, Program Manager, Southern District Health Board Dunedin, New Zealand.
The authors and planners have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.