Background: Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) reduces complications and hospital stay in colorectal surgery. Thereafter, ERAS principles were extended to liver surgery. Previous implementation of an ERAS program in colorectal surgery may influence patients undergoing liver surgery in a non-ERAS setting, on the same ward. This study aimed to test this hypothesis.
Methods: Retrospective analysis based on prospective data of the adherence to the institutional ERAS-liver protocol (compliance) in three cohorts of consecutive patients undergoing elective liver surgery, between June 2010 and July 2014: before any ERAS implementation (pre-ERAS n = 50), after implementation of ERAS in colorectal (intermediate n = 50), and after implementation of ERAS in liver surgery (ERAS-liver n = 74). Outcomes were functional recovery, postoperative complications, hospital stay, and readmissions.
Results: The three groups were comparable for demographics; laparoscopy was more frequent in ERAS-liver (p = 0.009). Compliance with the enhanced recovery protocol increased along the three periods (pre-ERAS, intermediate, and ERAS-liver), regardless of the perioperative phase (pre-, intra-, or postoperative). ERAS-liver group displayed the highest overall compliance rate with 73.8 %, compared to 39.9 and 57.4 % for pre-ERAS and intermediate groups (p = 0.072/0.056). Overall complications were unchanged (p = 0.185), whereas intermediate and ERAS-liver groups showed decreased major complications (p = 0.034). Consistently, hospital stay was reduced by 2 days (p = 0.005) without increased readmissions (p = 0.158).
Conclusions: The previous implementation of an ERAS protocol in colorectal surgery may induce a positive impact on patients undergoing non-ERAS-liver surgery on the same ward. These results suggest that ERAS is safely applicable in liver surgery and associated with benefits.