Special Correspondent

In four days the patient is ready to leave hospital

It improves ICU beds availability

CHENNAI: Though “Fast Track Cardiac Surgery,” which boasts benefits such as speedy recovery, shorter ICU and hospital stay, and lesser costs, has been around for a few years now, few tertiary care institutions have actually standardised the concept.

The cardiothoracic team at Billroth Hospitals says it has turned the concept virtually into a guiding philosophy for beating heart surgery (where the heart lung machine is not used) after taking into account positive patient responses about the procedure.

In four days of the surgery, the patient is ready to leave hospital and resume work actively, said Dr. S. Thiagarajamurthy, Chief Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Billroth Hospitals.

In a fast track procedure, post-operation (day 2) involves ICU mobilisation, ward care on day three, removal of sutures and discharge of patient on day four. Apart from reduced hospital stay, costs of medication could also be relatively less as only short-acting anaesthetic drugs are used. The patient also benefits from a roughly 15 per cent drop in bypass surgery costs that are in the region of Rs.1.15 lakh at an institution like Billroth.

From an institution’s perspective too, going fast track on cardiac surgeries can prove beneficial as ICU beds are released quicker enabling them to perform more cases.

Significantly, in a Government setting, a fast track surgery protocol could improve availability of ICU beds and bring down last-minute surgery postponements or cancellations, it is pointed out.