Epidural Analgesia Is Associated with Prolonged Length of Stay After Open HPB Surgery in Over 27,000 Patients

Lyonell B Kone, Vijay K Maker, Mihaela Banulescu, Ajay V Maker
Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery: Official Journal of the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract 2020 July 28

BACKGROUND: The impact of epidural analgesia (EA) on postoperative morbidity and length of stay (LOS) after HPB surgery remains to be determined. These specific outcomes have been highlighted by the implementation of multiple enhanced recovery pathways (ERAS). The authors hypothesized that EA in the current environment may be associated with LOS and other outcomes.

METHODS: The American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) databases from 2014 to 2017 for patients undergoing open hepatopancreaticobiliary (HPB) surgery were included in a retrospective cohort analysis with propensity score matching (PSM) comparing EA with control.

RESULTS: Twenty-seven thousand two hundred eighteen patients underwent open HPB surgery, of which 6048 (22%) received EA. There was an increase use of EA over time (from 19.3 to 25.5%, p = 0.001). On PSM, EA was associated with more than half of a day increase in LOS for both pancreatic (p < 0.001) and hepatic surgery (p < 0.001). Furthermore, for pancreatic surgery, there was an increase in urinary tract infection (2.5% vs. 3.3%, p = 0.018), time to drain removal (7.8 vs. 8.7 days, p < 0.001), and discharge to rehabilitation (2.9% vs. 4.3%, p = 0.029). For hepatic surgery, there was an increase in blood transfusion requirements (17% vs. 20%, p = 0.019). There were no differences in overall morbidity and mortality.

CONCLUSION: In this cohort of over 27,000 patients with granular surgical details, there was a significant increase in LOS associated with EA after HPB surgery, along with increased procedure-specific UTI and blood transfusion. With the ever-increasing need for standardized and efficient patient care pathways that reduce LOS, alternative analgesic adjuncts may be considered to optimize patient outcomes.

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