Economic impact of an enhanced recovery pathway for oesophagectomy

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Data are lacking to support the cost-effectiveness of enhanced recovery pathways (ERP) for oesophagectomy. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of an ERP on medical costs for oesophagectomy.


This study investigated all patients undergoing elective oesophagectomy between June 2009 and December 2011 at a single high-volume university hospital. From June 2010, all patients were enrolled in an ERP. Clinical outcomes were recorded for up to 30 days. Deviation-based cost modelling was used to compare costs between the traditional care and ERP groups.


A total of 106 patients were included (47 traditional care, 59 ERP). There were no differences in patient, pathological and operative characteristics between the groups. Median length of hospital stay (LOS) was lower in the ERP group (8 (interquartile range 7–18) daysversus10 (9–18) days with traditional care;P= 0·019). There was no difference in 30-day complication rates (59 per cent with ERP versus 62 per cent with traditional care;P= 0·803), and the 30-day or in-hospital mortality rate was low (3·8 per cent, 4 of 106). Costs in the on-course and minor-deviation groups were significantly lower after implementation of the ERP. The pathway-dependent cost saving per patient was €1055 and the overall cost saving per patient was €2013. One-way sensitivity analysis demonstrated that the ERP was cost-neutral or more costly only at extreme values of ward, operating and intensive care costs.


A multidisciplinary ERP for oesophagectomy was associated with cost savings, with no increase in morbidity or mortality.

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