The Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) Elements that Most Greatly Impact Length of Stay and Readmission

Kristofor A. Olson*, R. Y.Declan Fleming, April W. Fox, Andrew E. Grimes, S. Sameer Mohiuddin, Henry T. Robertson, Jamie Moxham, J. Stuart Wolf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols have been shown to decrease length of stay (LOS) and improve patient outcomes in a wide variety of surgical fields; however, barriers exist preventing the implementation of all elements. We hypothesize that a subset of ERAS elements are most influential on LOS and readmission following colorectal surgery. Study Design: A retrospective review of 840 patients was performed and their compliance with 24 ERAS components evaluated. Two independent machine-learning statistical algorithms were employed to determine which subset of ERAS elements was most impactful on LOS <3 days and hospital readmission. Results: Increasing compliance with ERAS elements had an inverse linear relationship with LOS. Open (vs minimally invasive) surgery was associated with increased LOS. Early mobilization and multimodal pain management are the elements most protective against increased LOS. Readmissions increase with the number of morphine milligram equivalents (MME)/day. The subset of patients who underwent minimally invasive procedures, had multimodal pain control, and less than 16 MME per day were least likely (23%) to have >3-day LOS. Those patients who underwent an open procedure with less than 15 ERAS elements completed were most likely (84%) to have >3-day LOS. Conclusion: While increasing compliance with ERAS protocols and minimally invasive procedures decrease LOS and readmission overall, a subset of components—multimodal pain control, limited opioid use, and early mobilization—was most associated with decreased LOS and readmission. This study provides guidance on which ERAS elements should be emphasized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-479
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • colorectal
  • general surgery
  • minimally invasive surgery
  • surgical quality


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