Clinical Outcomes and Cost Analysis of a “Fast Track” Postoperative Care Pathway for Ileal Pouch-Anal Anastomosis. A Case Control Study

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Traditional length of hospital stay after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis is 8 to 15 days. Fast track rehabilitation programs reduce stay, but there are concerns that readmission and complication rates may be increased. This study evaluated a fast track pathway after ileoanal pouch surgery.


One hundred three consecutive patients underwent ileal pouch-anal anastomosis on two colorectal services using a fast track protocol with early ambulation, diet, and defined discharge criteria. Direct hospital costs and 30-day and long-term complication data were collected. Patients were matched to controls managed with traditional care pathways by other colorectal staff.


Matching was established for 97 patients. Fast track patients had shorter hospital stay than controls (median 4vs.5 days; mean 5.0vs.5.9,P= 0.012). Readmission and recurrent operation rates were similar (24vs.20 percent,P= 0.49, and 9vs.10 percent,P= 0.8, fast trackvs.control, respectively). Median direct costs per patient (US$) within 30 days were lower with fast track (5692vs.6672,P= 0.001), primarily because of reductions in postoperative management expenses. Complication rates, including pouch failure, bowel obstruction, pouchitis, and anastomotic stricture were comparable. Early discharge (≤ 5 days from surgery) occurred in 79 (77 percent) fast track patients. Failure with early discharge was associated with male gender, reoperations, and anastomotic complications.


Fast track protocol after ileoanal pouch surgery reduces length of stay and hospital costs without increasing complication rates. Successful early discharge usually signals a benign postoperative course.

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