Study from Rush University Demonstrates the Benefits of an Enhanced Recovery Program

    Enhanced recovery programs for surgical patients, an important component of the Perioperative Surgical Home, are helping patients recuperate faster joint replacement surgery, according to a new study presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2016 annual meeting.

    These programs encompass a variety of protocols that promote fast-track patient recovery from surgery. Postoperative pain management is a major aspect of enhanced recovery programs, with multimodal pain management protocols changing the way patients are having surgery and being discharged.

    An example of this is the enhanced recovery program at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, which helps patients having minimally invasive knee replacement leave the hospital sooner with less pain.

    The study presented at ANESTHESIOLOGY 2016 included 243 knee replacement patients who received a combination of medications that act on multiple pain pathways. The researchers assessed the patients’ pain throughout their stay using an 11-point scale.

    The day after surgery, about 60% of knee replacement patients nationwide typically have moderate to severe pain. In the Rush study, only 4% had that level of pain, and 29% reported having no pain during the entire hospital stay.

    Patients in the study were discharged an average of 15 hours after surgery. Nationwide, knee replacement patients are hospitalized for an average of 3.7 days, according to a 2012 Medicare analysis.

    “Comprehensive collaboration between the physician anesthesiologist and surgical team enables us to discharge patients earlier with the same outcomes but less pain,” said Asokumar Buvanendran, MD, lead author of the study, director of orthopedic anesthesia and vice chair for research at Rush University, Chicago. “Multimodal therapies and (enhanced recovery) principles have revolutionized pain management.”