Optimizing recovery after laparoscopic colon surgery (ORAL-CS): effect of intravenous ketorolac on length of hospital stay

C M Schlachta, S E Burpee, C Fernandez, B Chan, J Mamazza, E C Poulin
Surgical Endoscopy 2007, 21 (12): 2212-9

BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to determine if intravenous ketorolac can reduce ileus following laparoscopic colorectal surgery, thus shortening hospital stay.

METHODS: This was a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of patients undergoing laparoscopic colorectal resection and receiving morphine patient controlled analgesia (PCA) and either intravenous ketorolac (group A) or placebo (group B), for 48 h after surgery. Daily assessments were made by a blinded assistant for level of pain control. Diet advancement and discharge were decided according to strictly defined criteria.

RESULTS: From October 2002 to March 2005, 190 patients underwent laparoscopic colorectal surgery. Of this total, 84 patients were eligible for this study and 70 consented. Another 26 patients were excluded, leaving 22 patients in each group. Two patients who suffered anastomotic leaks in the early postoperative period were excluded from further analysis. Median length of stay for the entire study was 4.0 days, with significant correlation between milligrams of morphine consumed and time to first flatus (r = 0.422, p = 0.005), full diet (r = 0.522, p < 0.001), and discharge (r = 0.437, p = 0.004). There we no differences between groups in age, body mass index, or operating time. Patients in group A consumed less morphine (33 +/- 31 mg versus 63 +/- 41 mg, p = 0.011), and had less time to first flatus (median 2.0 days versus 3.0 days, p < 0.001) and full diet (median 2.5 days versus 3.0 days, p = 0.033). The reduction in length of stay was not significant (mean 3.6 days versus 4.5 days, median 4.0 days versus 4.0 days, p = 0.142). Pain control was superior in group A. Three patients required readmission for treatment of five anastomotic leaks (4 in group A versus 1 in group B, p = 0.15). Two of them underwent reoperation.

CONCLUSIONS: Intravenous ketorolac was efficacious in improving pain control and reducing postoperative ileus when anastomotic leaks were excluded. This simple intervention shows promise in reducing hospital stay, although the outcome was not statistically significant. The high number of leaks is inconsistent with this group's experience and is of concern.

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