Early recovery after surgery for radical cystectomy: comprehensive assessment and meta-analysis of existing protocols

World J Urol. 2020 Dec;38(12):3139-3153. doi: 10.1007/s00345-020-03133-y. Epub 2020 Mar 2.


Purpose: Different enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols (EP) for radical cystectomy (RC) have been published. Protocols highly differ in number of included items and specific measures.

Materials and methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis on EPs in RC were performed using the databases MedLine, Cochrane Library, Web of science, and Google Scholar. The specific ERAS measures of the protocols were extracted, analyzed, and compared. Pooling of available outcome data was performed for length of stay, complications, readmission rate, and time to defecation.

Results: The search yielded a total of 860 studies of which 25 studies were included in qualitative and 22 in quantitative analysis. Oral bowel preparation (BP) was omitted in 24/25 (96%) EPs, optimized fluid management was administered in 22/25 (88%) EPs and early mobilization (postoperative day 1) in 21/25 (84%). Gum chewing (n = 12, 46%), metoclopramide (n = 11, 44%), and alvimopan (n = 6, 24%) were the most common measures to prevent postoperative ileus. Our meta-analysis revealed a significant benefit in favor of EPs for the outcome parameters length of stay [mean difference (MD) - 3.46 d, 95% confidence interval (CI) - 4.94 to - 1.98, p < 0.01], complications [Odds ratio (OR) = 0.76, 95% CI 0.61-0.94, p = 0.01] and time to defecation (MD - 1.37 d, 95% CI - 2.06 to - 0.69, p < 0.01). Readmission rate did not show a significant difference (OR = 0.73, 95% CI 0.52-1.03, p = 0.07).

Conclusion: Current EPs focus on omitting oral BP, early mobilization, and optimized fluid management while they differ in methods preventing postoperative ileus. Our meta-analysis revealed a benefit in introducing these protocols into clinical practice.

Keywords: Cystectomy; ERAS; Fast track; Meta-analysis; Protocol; Systematic review; evidence-based medicine.