Accelerated discharge within 72 hours of colorectal cancer resection using simple discharge criteria

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Short hospital stays and accelerated discharge within 72 hours following colorectal cancer resections have not been widely achieved. Series reporting on accelerated discharge involve heterogeneous patient populations and exclude important groups. Strict adherence to some discharge requirements may lead to delays in discharge. The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and feasibility of accelerated discharge within 72 hours of all elective colorectal cancer resections using simple discharge criteria.


Elective colorectal cancer resections performed between August 2009 and December 2015 by a single surgeon were reviewed. Perioperative care was based on an enhanced recovery programme. A set of simplified discharge criteria were used. Outcomes including postoperative complications, readmissions and reoperations were compared between patients discharged within 72 hours and those with a longer postoperative stay.


Overall, 256 colorectal cancer resections (90% laparoscopic) were performed. The mean patient age was 70.8 years. The median length of stay was 3 days. Fifty-eight per cent of all patients and sixty-three per cent of patients undergoing laparoscopic surgery were discharged within 72 hours. Accelerated discharge was not associated with adverse outcomes compared with delayed discharge. Patients discharged within 72 hours had significantly fewer postoperative complications, readmissions and reoperations. Open surgery and stoma formation were associated with discharge after 72 hours but not age, co-morbidities, neoadjuvant chemoradiation or surgical procedure.


Accelerated discharge within 72 hours of elective colorectal resection for cancer is safely achievable for the majority of patients without compromising short-term outcomes.

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