Healthy patients who undergo fast track total hip replacement (THR) can be discharged within two days of the surgery compared to the standard three to six days, says a new study.
The researchers believe that the study could help cut down on hospital-acquired infections, reduce hospital costs and improve patient satisfaction.
"Before this study, we were uncertain how safe it would be to discharge patients within two days after a total hip replacement, but based on this study, we now know that it is safe. This is evidenced by the fact that the patients who were discharged within two days did not have an increase in complications, readmissions or re-operations," said Lawrence Gulotta, an orthopedic surgeon at HSS.
The researchers compared the outcomes of patients undergoing THR between 2004 and 2008.
One cohort of 149 patients underwent THR with a fast track protocol whereas, the other cohort of 134 patients underwent the surgery followed by the hospital's traditional clinical way.
Patients on the fast track protocol had a physical therapy session on the day of their surgery.
The main difference was that the patient's pain medication was discontinued in the fast track cohort after day one of the operation, whereas, in the traditional cohort, pain medication was discontinued on day two.
Patients in both cohorts were sent home with aspirin and a study coordinator screened them for complications on day one and one week after the discharge.
The researchers found that 58 pc of the fast track cohort was discharged within two days of a THR and 73 pc were discharged within three days.
The average discharge time was 2.6 days in the fast track cohort compared with 4.1 in the traditional cohort.
The study will be reported in an upcoming issue of Springer's HSS Journal.