Patients on the fast track protocol had a physical therapy session on the day of their surgery. The main difference was that a patient's pain medication was discontinued in the fast track cohort postoperative day one (as long as pain was deemed to be under control), whereas in the traditional cohort, pain medication is usually discontinued on day two.
Patients in both cohorts were sent home with aspirin, an arrangement for work with a physical therapist, a patient management plan including a list of daily goals, and nausea and pain control plans. A study coordinator screened for complications one day and one week after discharge.
The investigators found that 58 percent of the fast track cohort was discharged within two days of a THR and 73 percent were discharged within three days. The average discharge time was 2.6 days in the fast track cohort and 4.1 in the traditional cohort. Patients were less likely to be discharged rapidly in the fast track cohort, if they had significant post-operative pain, nausea, or dizziness. At one year, there were no differences in complications, readmissions or reoperation in the two cohorts.
"For a select group of patients, we have shown that a two day discharge is safe and feasible for patients undergoing a total hip replacement," Dr. Nestor said. He pointed out that the two day fast track is not for higher risk patients, the ones who were excluded from the study. While the authors did not measure if the fast track protocol saves money, since it involves shortened hospital stays, the researchers expect it to.
Roughly half a million THRs are conducted every year in the United States, and this number is expected to grow. Many in the baby boomer generation are not willing to be sedentary and as their joints age, they are demanding joint replacement surgeries to keep active.
Other HSS authors involved in the study are Douglas Padgett, M.D., Thomas Sculco, M.D
|SOURCE Hospital for Special Surgery|
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