Objective: To investigate the effect of an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program on complications and length of stay (LOS) after radical cystectomy (RC) and to assess if the number and type of components of ERAS play a key role on the decrease of surgical morbidity.
Materials and methods: We analyzed the data of 277 patients prospectively recruited in 11 hospitals undergoing RC initially managed according to local practice (Group I) and later within an ERAS program (Group II). Two main outcomes were defined: 90-day complications rate and LOS. As secondary variables we studied 90-day mortality, 30-day readmission and transfusion rate.
Results: Patients in Group II had a higher use of ERAS measures (98.6%) than those in Group I (78.2%) (p < 0.05). Patients in Groups I and II experienced similar complications (70.5% vs. 66%, p = 0.42). LOS was not different between Groups I and II (12.5 and 14 days, respectively, p = 0.59). The risk of having any complication decreases for patients having more than 15 ERAS measures adopted [RR = 0.815; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.667-0.996; p = 0.045]. Avoidance of transfusion and nasogastric tube, prevention of ileus, early ambulation and a fast uptake of a regular diet are independently associated with the absence of complications.
Conclusions: Complications and LOS after RC were not modified by the introduction of an ERAS program. We hypothesize that at least 15 measures should be applied to maximize the benefit of ERAS.
Keywords: Bladder cancer; ERAS; Radical cystectomy; Urothelial cancer.