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Discharge within 24 hours following colonic surgery—a distant dream or near reality? A scoping review

      Abstract

      Background

      Enhanced recovery after surgery programs have improved patient outcomes following colorectal surgery. This has provided a platform for the consideration of ambulatory colectomies where patients are discharged within 24 hours after surgery. Although some studies have demonstrated its feasibility, the safety profile and patient eligibility criteria for discharge within 24 hours after surgery remain relatively ill-defined. This study provided a review of the patient selection criteria and postoperative outcomes shown in patients discharged within 24 hours after surgery.

      Methods

      Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews guidelines were adhered to. A comprehensive search was performed on 3 electronic databases, and the relevant articles were identified. The primary outcome measures were postoperative morbidity and readmission rates. The different domains relevant to the selection of patients and perioperative care of patients discharged within 24 hours after surgery were also qualitatively assessed.

      Results

      Eight studies were included, which involved a total of 1,229 patients. The majority of selected patients underwent elective laparoscopic colonic surgeries. The patient characteristics, such as age, comorbidities, obesity, and psychosocial environment, were important considerations. A close follow-up with home-based medical services was ideal in patients discharged within 24 hours after surgery. The readmission rates ranged from 0.0% to 9.0%. Despite morbidity rates of up to 26.7%, the majority of them were minor and classified as Clavien-Dindo Grade I to II.

      Conclusion

      The use of programs related to discharge within 24 hours after surgery in colorectal surgery is safe, feasible, and practical in a select group of patients within a well-designed clinical framework and pathway. Future studies should compare patient outcomes following discharge within 24 hours after surgery with conventional enhanced recovery after surgery protocols. In addition, patient and caregiver perceptions, quality of life, and cost-effectiveness analysis should also be performed.
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