Discharge within 24 to 72 hours of colorectal surgery is associated with low readmission rates when using enhanced recovery pathways

Justin K. Lawrence, Deborah S. Keller, Hoda Samia, Bridget Ermlich, Karen M. Brady, Tamar Nobel, Sharon L. Stein, Conor P. Delaney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Background: Enhanced Recovery Pathways (ERPs) have demonstrated reduced hospital length of stay and improved outcomes after colorectal surgery. Concerns exist about increases in readmission rates. Laparoscopic colorectal surgery with an ERP can permit earlier discharge without compromising safety or increasing readmission rates. Study Design: A review of a prospective database was performed for major elective colorectal procedures by a single surgeon. All patients followed a standardized ERP and discharge criteria. Patients were categorized by approach and day of discharge (DoD) of ≤1, ≤2, ≤3, ≤7, and >7 days. Main outcomes measures were length of stay and 30-day readmission rates in each group. Results: Eight hundred and six cases (609 laparoscopic, 197 open) were identified during a 64-month period. Mean age was similar for the laparoscopic (59.1 years) and open (58.3 years) groups. Mean overall DoD was at 5 days (±4.8 days); by approach, the mean laparoscopic DoD was at 3.9 days and open DoD was at 8.4 days. Twenty-nine percent were discharged within 48 hours (38% laparoscopic and 8% open) and 50% were discharged within 72 hours (62% laparoscopic and 19% open). Only 8.9% of all patients (n = 72) were readmitted (7.2% laparoscopic, 14.2% open). The cumulative readmission rate for laparoscopic patients in early DoD groups postoperative days 1, 2, and 3 were 0.2%, 1.6%, and 3.4%, respectively. Conclusions: Combining laparoscopy with an ERP optimizes patient care in colorectal surgery. The combination permits early discharge; 38% were discharged within 2 days and 62% within 3 days of surgery, with low readmission rates. These results support that early DoD is possible without compromising patient safety or increasing readmission rates. This might be a marker for low readmission rate, and suggests that readmission rate alone might not be an adequate marker of quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-394
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • CRS
  • DoD
  • ERP
  • Enhanced Recovery Pathway
  • LAP
  • LOS
  • colorectal surgery
  • day of discharge
  • laparoscopic
  • length of stay


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