Background: Although enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) has made great progress in the field of surgery, the guidelines point to the lack of high-quality evidence in upper gastrointestinal surgery.
Methods: Randomized controlled trials in four electronic databases that involved ERAS protocols for upper gastrointestinal surgery were searched through December 12, 2018. The primary endpoints were lung infection, urinary tract infection, surgical site infection, postoperative anastomotic leakage and ileus. The secondary endpoints were postoperative length of stay, the time from end of surgery to first flatus and defecation, and readmission rates. Subgroup analysis was performed based on the type of surgery.
Results: A total of 17 studies were included. The results of the meta-analysis indicate that there was a decrease in rates of lung infection (RR = 0.50, 95%CI: 0.33 to 0.75), postoperative length of stay (MD = -2.53, 95%CI: – 3.42 to – 1.65), time until first postoperative flatus (MD = -0.64, 95%CI: – 0.84 to – 0.45) and time until first postoperative defecation (MD = -1.10, 95%CI: – 1.74 to – 0.47) in patients who received ERAS, compared to conventional care. However, other outcomes were not significant difference. There was no significant difference between ERAS and conventional care in rates of urinary tract infection (P = 0.10), surgical site infection (P = 0.42), postoperative anastomotic leakage (P = 0.45), readmissions (P = 0.31) and ileus (P = 0.25).
Conclusions: ERAS protocols can reduce the risk of postoperative lung infection and accelerating patient recovery time. Nevertheless, we should also consider further research ERAS should be performed undergoing gastrectomy and esophagectomy.
Keywords: Enhanced recovery after surgery; Gastric cancer; Multimodal perioperative care; Postoperative morbidity; Upper gastrointestinal surgery.