Over the last 20 years, a new concept of perioperative patient care based on a construct of evidence-based interventions referred to as 'enhanced recovery after surgery' (ERAS) has been developed. The main pillars of ERAS programs include optimal postoperative pain management and early enteral feeding and mobilization after surgery. Several studies, mostly based on experiences with patients undergoing colonic resection, suggest that ERAS implementation is feasible and safe. However, there are very few well-designed studies that have evaluated the usefulness of ERAS programs after major upper abdominal surgery. The present review focuses on the discussion of the most relevant and recently published data on the application of ERAS programs in pancreatic, hepatic, esophageal and gastric surgery. A total of 23 articles have been reviewed by the authors. The high frequency and the potentially hazardous nature of some postoperative complications associated with major upper abdominal surgery and the lack of well-designed randomized controlled trials are limiting factors for the application of ERAS. However, the present results indicate that the implementation of ERAS programs in pancreatic, hepatic, esophageal and gastric surgery patients contributes to a reduction in complications, length of hospital stay and costs without an increase in mortality or readmission rates. Copyright © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.
- Clinical pathways
- Enhanced recovery after surgery
- Fast-track surgery
- Liver surgery