Fast-Track Programs Versus Traditional Care in Hepatectomy: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

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The role of fast-track programs in hepatectomy is unclear. This meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of fast-track programs versus traditional care.


We searched Pubmed, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Google Scholar for relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing fast-track with traditional care in hepatectomy. Length of hospital stay, time to first flatus, postoperative complications, operating time, and intraoperative blood loss were assessed. Meta-analyses were performed using RevMan 5.2 software.


Four original RCTs with 372 patients were included: 187 in the fast-track and 185 in the traditional care group. Fast-track patients had shorter hospital stay (WMD -2.32; 95% CI, -3.54 to -1.11; p < 0.001) and time to first flatus (WMD -0.99; 95% CI, -1.15 to -0.84; p < 0.001), and less postoperative complications (RR 0.66; 95% CI, 0.47 to 0.93; p < 0.05). However, there was significant heterogeneity between the studies regarding hospital stay (I2 = 88%; p < 0.001). Operating time and intraoperative blood loss were not different.


Patients in fast-track programs had less time to first flatus and postoperative complications compared to traditional care. Fast-track programs may reduce the length of hospital stay. Larger, higher quality prospective RCTs are necessary to draw more robust conclusions.

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