Enhancing recovery in pediatric surgery: A review of the literature

Julia K. Shinnick, Heather L. Short, Kurt F. Heiss, Matthew T. Santore, Martin L. Blakely, Mehul V. Raval*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS), guidelines entail a strategy of perioperative management proven to hasten postoperative recovery and reduce complications in adult populations. Relatively few studies have investigated the applicability of this paradigm to pediatric populations. Our objective was to perform a systematic review of existing evidence regarding the use and efficacy of enhanced recovery protocols (ERPs) in the pediatric population. Materials and methods Data were collected through a PubMed/MEDLINE literature search. Study eligibility criteria included a pediatric population and implementation of at least four components of published ERAS Society recommendations. Results One retrospective and four prospective cohort studies evaluating children undergoing gastrointestinal, urologic, and thoracic surgeries were identified. The overall quality of reporting was fair with few studies acknowledging limitations and bias and inconsistent outcome reporting. Studies included six or fewer interventions compared to 20 recommended interventions in most adult ERAS Society guidelines. None of the studies were well controlled. Nevertheless, these studies suggest that ERPs applied to the appropriate pediatric surgical populations may be associated with decreased length of stay, decreased narcotic use, and no detectable increase in complications. Conclusions There is a paucity of high-quality literature evaluating implementation of ERPs in pediatric populations. The limited literature available indicates that ERPs would be safe and potentially effective. More studies are needed to assess the efficacy of ERPs in pediatric surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-176
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Enhanced recovery protocols
  • Fast-track protocols
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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