Background and aims: The aim of this study was to investigate fast-track concepts in routine pediatric surgery in a university clinic over 1 year.
Patients/methods: Fast-track concepts were established for procedures requiring hospital admission in patients up to 15 years of age. Patients were studied prospectively from June 2006 to June 2007.
Results: Out of a total of 436 potentially suitable patients, 155 (36%) were finally treated following the protocols. The mean intensity of pain in children younger than 4 years (CHIPPS, 0-10) was 1.3 +/- 1.5 the evening of the operation day and decreased to <1 at all other time points. The initial postoperative mean pain intensity in older children (Smiley/VAS, 1-10) was 3.7 +/- 2.2 and decreased constantly thereafter. The mean hospital stay of fast-track patients was significantly shorter compared with German diagnosis-related group data (4.6 +/- 2.9 versus 9.7 +/- 3.8, p < 0.01). There were four (3%) readmissions for minor complications. At follow-up after 2 weeks, 95% of patients and parents judged fast-track care as excellent.
Conclusion: Fast-track concepts are feasible in one third of pediatric patients undergoing routine in-hospital surgery. Fast-track pediatric surgery achieves accelerated convalescence, minimal hospital stay, and high patient and parent satisfaction.