Hospitals are starting to abandon the time-honored drill for surgery patients- including fasting, heavy IV fluids, powerful post-op nartcotics and bed rest- amid growing evidence that the lack of nutrients, fluid overload and drug side effects can do more harm than good.
Instead, they are turning to “enhanced recovery” protocols that are easier on patients, help them get better faster with fewer infections and other complications and reduc health-care costs.
The changes, pioneered in Europe over the past 15 years, now are being adopted mroe widely in the U.S. Though the evidence is strongest in colorectal surgery, the approach is being used with an incrasing range of procedurs including hip fracture and joint replacements and surgeries for bladder, pancreas, liver and breast cancer.
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