Comparing outcomes between enhanced recovery after surgery and traditional protocols in total hip arthroplasty: a retrospective cohort study
Background: Traditionally, hip replacement surgery was associated with prolonged recovery and rehabilitation in a hospital setting. Prolonged stay is causing growing concern internationally, where there is an increased drive to cost-effective practice and a realisation that prolonged hospitalisation is not required and may be detrimental. Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocols address this problem by advocating evidence-based multidisciplinary peri-operative management pathways associated with rapid recovery, without compromising safety. Despite proven efficacy, these protocols are not being implemented in most South African orthopaedic practices.
Methods: Data from two cohorts (80 patients) undergoing elective primary total hip arthroplasty were included. One group was rehabilitated according to a prolonged stay protocol and the other according to ERAS. Cohorts were matched according to demographics and comorbidities. The functional outcome was compared using the Oxford Hip Score. The 30-day readmission rate was compared to assess the safety of early discharge, and the length of stay of patients was compared.
Results: The readmission rate and Oxford Hip Scores showed no clinically significant difference between the cohorts. The length of stay was markedly decreased in the ERAS group.
Conclusion: ERAS protocols can decrease the length of stay in elective total hip replacement without compromising patient safety or functional outcome.
Level of evidence: Level 4