Enhanced recovery (ERAS) pathways can help hospitals maximize the incentives of bundled payment models while maintaining high-quality patient care. A key component of an enhanced recovery pathway is the ability to predictably reduce inpatient length of stay, as this is a critical component of the cost equation.
To determine the efficacy of an enhanced recovery pathway on reducing length of stay after thoracolumbar adult deformity surgery.
Single surgeon retrospective review of prospectively-collected data PATIENT SAMPLE: 40 adult deformity patients who underwent ≥5 levels of fusion to the pelvis (two to L5) with a single surgeon before and after implementation of an ERAS pathway METHODS: The pathway involved participation by anesthesiology, hospital medicine, and physical therapy, and was designed to achieve goals previously associated with decreased LOS (e.g. EBL<1200 mL, procedure time <4.5 hours, avoidance of ICU postoperatively, and mobilization POD0-1). Patients were propensity-score matched 1:1 to a historical cohort (enhanced recovery [ER] and historical [H] cohorts), based on demographics, medical comorbidities, radiographic alignment parameters, and surgical factors. Outcomes were compared to determine the effect of the enhanced recovery pathway. Primary outcomes included LOS and 90-day complications and readmissions.
After matching, gender, BMI, ASA class, preoperative opioid dependence, day of surgery, sagittal alignment parameters, rate of revision surgery, three-column osteotomies, and interbody fusions were comparable between the cohorts (p>0.05). In the enhanced recovery (ER) cohort, there was reduced EBL (920±640 vs. 1437±555, p=0.004) and no ER patient went to the ICU immediately following surgery, compared with 30% of H patients (p=0.022). The ER cohort also had a greater number of patients ambulating by POD1 compared to the historical (H) cohort (100% v 55%, p=0.010). ER patients had a shorter LOS (4.5±1.3 vs. 7.3±4.4 days, p=0.010). 90-day readmission and complications were comparable between the cohorts (p>0.05).
The creation of an ERAS pathway for patients undergoing thoracolumbar adult deformity surgery reduced length of stay without negatively affecting short-term morbidity and complications. Given the specificity of this pathway to a single surgeon and hospital, the resources and staffing changes that were instrumental in creating the pathway may not be generalizable to other centers.

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