Development and implementation of an enhanced recovery after surgery protocol for renal transplantation

ANZ J Surg. 2019 Oct;89(10):1319-1323. doi: 10.1111/ans.15461. Epub 2019 Oct 1.


Background: Successful implementation of enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) in kidney transplantation requires multidisciplinary consultation, education and attention to protocol. This study discusses the process implementation pathway of the ERAS protocol and its outcome.

Methods: A standardized ERAS protocol was designed for the renal transplant recipient and implemented in July 2017. Data collected prospectively of recipients transplanted from July 2017 to December 2018 were compared to prospectively collected data of recipients who were transplanted prior to ERAS implementation from January 2016 to July 2017 from our renal database. The parameters of interest included length of stay, incidence of delayed graft function and readmission rate.

Results: There was no difference in the demographics and the incidence of delayed graft function across both groups, although subgroup analysis suggested a significantly lower incidence of delayed graft function with kidneys donated after circulatory death in the cohort that were managed by the ERAS protocol. The median length of stay for patients on the ERAS protocol was 5 days (range 3-16 days). This was 2 days shorter than the median length of stay for patients not on the ERAS protocol (7 days; range 5-14, P < 0.001). This statistically significant difference in length of stay was consistent across all donor subgroups (living donor, donor after cardiac death and donation after brainstem death). Seventy-nine percent of the patients on the ERAS protocol were discharged on post-operative day 4.

Conclusion: An ERAS protocol for renal transplant patients is feasible. Our data show that successful implementation of ERAS in kidney transplantation is possible and results in significant cost savings due to shorter length of stay.

Keywords: clinical pathways; enhanced recovery after surgery; kidney transplantation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Critical Pathways
  • Delayed Graft Function / economics
  • Delayed Graft Function / epidemiology
  • Delayed Graft Function / prevention & control
  • Enhanced Recovery After Surgery*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Hospital Costs / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Length of Stay / economics
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Readmission / economics
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • Program Development / methods*
  • Prospective Studies