Enhanced recovery programs (ERPs) imply early discharge but few papers have assessed the effect of ERPs on post-discharge mortality (PDM).
A multicenter nationwide case control study based on administrative data was carried out between March and December 2019. Coding for every episode of care whether in the setting of ERP or not is mandatory for hospital funding (public or private). Twelve surgical specialties or procedures were included. The episodes of care coded with ERP were matched with those without ERP code for several factors such as the type of hospital (public or private), age, gender, month of discharge, and updated Charlson score. Ninety-day PDM was the main outcome.
Of 420,031 patients in the database, 78,119 had an ERP code. Finally, 132,600 patients with 66,300 matched pairs were considered for the study. Overall, PDM was significantly reduced after ERPs: 0.075% vs 0.138% (p = 0.00042). Significant one-half and two-thirds reduction in PDM was observed respectively after hip arthroplasty (odds ratio 0.48 [95% CI 0.21–0.99]) and colectomy (odds ratio 0.36 [95% CI 0.16–0.74]).
The findings, based on a large database and a rigorous matching, strongly suggest that ERPs reduce PDM particularly after colectomy and hip arthroplasty. This is likely due to better post-operative care in ERPs.