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Fast track for elderly patients: Is it feasible for colorectal surgery?

International Journal of Surgery
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijsu.2014.08.389
  • Fast-Track Rehabilitation
  • Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery
  • Elderly Patients
  • Agricultural Science
  • Design
  • Medicine


Abstract Background: Fast-track program has been applied in several surgical fields. However, currently many surgical patients are elderly over 70 years of age, and discussion about the application of such protocols for elderly patients is inadequate. Materials and methods: The present study was designed to consider the safety and feasibility of application of a fast-track program after colorectal surgery in elderly patients. A total of 76 elderly patients with colorectal cancer who underwent laparoscopic colorectal resection were randomly assigned to receive either the fast-track care program (n = 40) or the conventional perioperative care protocol (control group, n = 36). The fast track protocol included no preoperative mechanical bowel irrigation, immediate oral alimentation and earlier postoperative ambulation exercise. The length of postoperative hospital stay, the length of time to regain bowel function and the rate of postoperative complications were compared between the two groups. Results: The length of time to regain bowel function, including the passage of flatus [32 (24–40) h vs 42 (32–52) h], and to start a liquid diet (13 [10–16] h v/s 43 [36–50] h) were significantly shorter in patients receiving the fast track care protocol compared with those receiving the conventional care protocol. A shorter duration of postoperative hospital stay was recorded in patients receiving the fast-track program than in those receiving conventional care [6 (5–7) days v/s 9.5 (7–12) days]. A reduced percentage of patients who developed general complications was also observed in the fast-track group (5.0% v/s 18%). Conclusion: Fast-track after laparoscopic colorectal surgery can be safely applied in carefully selected elderly patients older than age 70 years. The fast-track recovery program resulted in a more rapid postoperative recovery, earlier discharge from hospital and fewer general complications compared with a conventional postoperative protocol.

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