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Abstract: A pilot study of recovery room bypass ("fast-track protocol") in a community hospital.

Authors:

Duncan PG, Shandro J, Bachand R, Ainsworth L.

Institution:

Department of Anesthesiology, Capital Health Region, Victoria, Canada.

Source:

Can J Anaesth. 2001 Jul-Aug;48(7):630-6.

Abstract:

PURPOSE: To evaluate the effectiveness of short-acting anesthetic drugs and techniques to achieve recovery room bypass criteria after minor surgery in a community hospital environment. METHODS: After agreement by a multidisciplinary committee, a pilot project was undertaken to assess the usefulness of ultra- short acting anesthetic drugs and pre-emptive analgesia to facilitate rapid recovery from general anesthesia. A cohort of 100 ASA I-II patients aged 18-65 yr undergoing simple knee arthroscopy or minor peripheral orthopedic procedures was compared to a similar cohort treated in the three months prior to the study period. Outcomes of interest included patient morbidity, success in achieving post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) bypass criteria, impact upon nursing resources, duration of operating room (OR) and hospital stay, and pharmaceutical costs before and after implementation. RESULTS: No patient morbidity was demonstrated prior to discharge home, and successful PACU bypass occurred in 83% of cases. Achievement of PACU discharge criteria while in the OR did not prolong the OR time, and discharge from hospital occurred earlier in the patients who did not require PACU care (P=0.0006 all "fast-track cases" vs all "controls"). Nursing complaints were more numerous when the day surgery personnel did not normally participate in PACU care. The cost of anesthetic care was significantly more using ultra-short acting drugs (CDN $14.17 vs CDN $20.57), but closer adherence to protocol could reduce this differential (CDN $18.84). CONCLUSION: Not all patients who receive a general anesthetic require admission to a phase I recovery facility. However, the justification for use of more expensive pharmaceuticals to achieve PACU bypass requires extensive changes in operating systems and voluntary professional behaviours.

Keywords:

Recovery Fast Track Economics