Background. Recent introduction of minimally invasive adult cardiac surgical techniques has emphasized the advantage of early hospital discharge. However, we chose an alternative approach to determine the safety, efficacy, and feasibility of ultra-fast track protocols while retaining both standard surgical exposure (median sternotomy) and conventional cardiac surgical techniques (hypothermia, cardiopulmonary bypass with cardiac arrest, and optimal myocarclial protection). Methods. From September 1995 to January 1998, a total of 258 consecutive patients underwent cardiac procedures by a single surgeon. Acceleration of clinical pathways was used to initiate earlier discharges. Stringent postdischarge follow-up was implemented. Prospectively entered data were then analyzed retrospectively. Results. A variety of isolated as well as combined coronary and valve procedures were performed. Of the 258 patients operated on during this entire study period, a total of 144 patients (56%) were discharged within postoperative days 1 to 4 (ultra-fast track discharge). Over the past 12 months, this incidence increased to 70% (76 of 108 patients). Approximately 50% of these patients were operated on urgently or emergently. To date, there have been no deaths in this ultra-fast track group. There were eight brief readmissions, of which one was for rewiring of a noninfected sternal dehiscence, and the remaining were for cardiac diagnostic studies or a noncardiac problem altogether. Conclusions. Conventional cardiac operation can allow ultrafast hospital discharges while retaining the advantage of time-tested techniques and providing wider application without requiring new or additional training or equipment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine