CONVALESCENCE AFTER COLONIC RESECTION WITH FAST-TRACK VERSUS CONVENTIONAL CARE
Background: Multi-modal rehabilitation programmes may improve early postoperative body composition, pulmonary function, exercise capacity, and reduce hospital stay. So far, no data are available on convalescence after discharge. Aim: The objectives where to compare convalescence data (fatigue, sleep, time to resume normal activities, and functional capabilities) and need for nursing care and contact to general practitioner with fast-track multi-modal rehabilitation compared with conventional care after colonic surgery. Methods: Non-randomised, prospective controlled study in 30 consecutive patients undergoing fast-track rehabilitation with continuous epidural analgesia, enforced oral nutrition, mobilisation, planned early discharge, and 30 consecutive patients undergoing conventional care. Patients were interviewed preoperatively and 14 and 30 days postoperatively. Results: Median hospital stay was 2 vs. 8 days in the fast-track vs. conventional care group, respectively (p <0 .01). Fourteen days postoperatively, total and mid-day sleep were increased in the conventional care group when compared with the fast-track group (p <0 .01). Fatigue was increased significantly at 14 days (p <0 .05) and throughout the study period compared with the fast-track group (p <0 .01). Similarly, ability to walking stairs, cooking, house keeping, shopping and walking outdoor was significantly less reduced at 14 days in the fast-track group, who also regained leisure activities earlier (p <0 .05). There was no significant difference between groups at 30 days or between need for nursing care and visits to general practitioners. Readmission for surgery-related events occurred more frequently (5 vs 1 patient) in the fast-track group. Conclusion: Fast-track rehabilitation with early discharge after colonic surgery results in earlier resumption of normal activities with reduced fatigue and need for sleep postoperatively compared to conventional care, and without increased need for nursing care or visits to general practitioners. However, readmissions may occur more frequently.