From the Journals

In and out surgeries become the norm during pandemic


The number of same-day discharges has grown with the increase in robotic-assisted surgeries and advances in imaging and pressures to reduce hospital costs. COVID-19 has, perhaps temporarily, increased the same-day surgery numbers as surgeries have been restricted and hospital beds are needed for COVID-19 patients.

Urologist Ronney Abaza, MD, a robotic surgery specialist in Dublin, Ohio, and colleagues, reviewed robotic surgeries at their hospital during COVID-19 restrictions on surgery in Ohio between March 17 and June 5, 2020, and compared them with robotic procedures before COVID-19 and after restrictions were lifted. They published their results in Urology.

Since 2016, the hospital has offered the option of same-day discharge (SDD) to all robotic urologic surgery patients, regardless of procedure or patient-specific factors.

Among patients who had surgery during COVID-19 restrictions, 98% (87/89 patients) opted for SDD versus 52% in the group having surgery before the restrictions (P < .00001). After the COVID-19 surgery restrictions were lifted, the higher rate of SDD remained at 98%.

“There were no differences in 30-day complications or readmissions between SDD and overnight patients,” the authors write.

The right patient, the right motivation for successful surgery

Brian Lane, MD, PhD, a urologic oncologist with Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan, told this news organization that, for nephrectomies, uptake of same-day discharge will continue to be slow.

“You have to have the right patient, the right patient motivation, and the surgery has to go smoothly,” he said. “If you start sending everyone home the same day, you will certainly see readmissions,” he said.

Dr. Lane is part of the Michigan Urologic Surgery Improvement Collaborative and he said the group recently looked at same-day discharge outcomes after robotic prostatectomies with SDD as compared with 1-2 nights in the hospital.

The work has not yet been published but, “There was a slight signal that there were increased readmissions with same-day discharge vs. 0-1 day,” he said.

A paper on outcomes of same-day discharge in total knee arthroplasty in the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery found a higher risk of perioperative complications “including component failure, surgical site infection, knee stiffness, and deep vein thrombosis.” Researchers compared outcomes between 4,391 patients who underwent outpatient TKA and 128,951 patients who underwent inpatient TKA.

But for other many surgeries, same-day discharge numbers are increasing without worsening outcomes.

A paper in the Journal of Robotic Surgery found that same-day discharge following robotic-assisted endometrial cancer staging is “safe and feasible.”

Stephen Bradley, MD, MPH, with the Minneapolis Heart Institute in Minneapolis, and colleagues write in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Interventions that they found a large increase in the use of same-day discharge after elective percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) was not associated with worse 30-day mortality rates or readmission.

In that study, 114,461 patients were discharged the same day they underwent PCI. The proportion of patients who had a same-day discharge increased from 4.5% in 2009 to 28.6% in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Risk-adjusted 30-day mortality did not change in that time, while risk-adjusted rehospitalization decreased over time and more quickly when patients had same-day discharge.

Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, and Jonathan G. Sung, MBCHB, both of Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart & Vascular Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, wrote in an accompanying article that, “Advances in the devices and techniques of PCI have improved the safety and efficacy of the procedure. In selected patients, same-day discharge has become possible, and overnight in-hospital observation can be avoided. By reducing unnecessary hospital stays, both patients and hospitals could benefit.”

Evan Garden, a medical student at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, presented findings at the American Urological Association 2021 annual meeting that show patients selected for same-day discharge after partial or radical nephrectomy did not have increased rates of postoperative complications or readmissions in the immediate postoperative period, compared with standard discharge of 1-3 days.


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