Background: Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols have been shown to reduce hospital stay without compromising outcomes. Attempts to apply ERAS principles in the context of pancreatic surgery have generated encouraging results. A systematic review of the current evidence for ERAS following pancreatic surgery was conducted.
Methods: A literature search of MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library was performed for articles describing postoperative clinical pathways in pancreatic surgery during the years 2000-2013. The keywords 'clinical pathway', 'critical pathway', 'fast-track', 'pancreas' and 'surgery' and their synonyms were used as search terms. Articles were selected for inclusion based on predefined criteria and ranked for quality. Details of the ERAS protocols and relevant outcomes were extracted and analysed.
Results: Ten articles describing an ERAS protocol in pancreatic surgery were identified. The level of evidence was graded as low to moderate. No articles reported an adverse effect of an ERAS protocol for pancreatic surgery on perioperative morbidity or mortality. Length of stay (LoS) was decreased and readmission rates were found to be unchanged in six of seven studies that compared these outcomes.
Conclusions: Evidence indicates that ERAS protocols may be implemented in pancreatic surgery without compromising patient safety or increasing LoS. Enhanced recovery after surgery programmes in the context of pancreatic surgery should be standardized based upon the best available evidence, and trials of ERAS programmes involving multiple centres should be performed.
© 2014 International Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association.