Background: Fast-track cardiac care is a complex intervention involving several components of care during cardiac anaesthesia and in the postoperative period, with the ultimate aim of early extubation after surgery, to reduce length of stay in the intensive care unit and in the hospital. Safe and effective fast-track cardiac care may reduce hospital costs. This is an update of a Cochrane review first published in 2003, updated in 2012 and updated now in 2016. Objectives: To determine the safety and effectiveness of fast-track cardiac care compared with conventional (not fast-track) care in adult patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Fast-track cardiac care intervention includes administration of low-dose opioid-based general anaesthesia or use of a time-directed extubation protocol, or both. Search methods: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; 2015, Issue 5), MEDLINE (January 2012 to May 2015), Embase (January 2012 to May 2015), the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL; January 2012 to May 2015) and the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) Web of Science (January 2012 to May 2015), along with reference lists of articles, to identify additional trials. We applied no language restrictions. Selection criteria: We included all randomized controlled trials of adult cardiac surgical patients (coronary artery bypass grafts, aortic valve replacement, mitral valve replacement) that compared fast-track cardiac care and conventional (not fast-track) care groups. We focused on the following fast-track interventions, which were designed for early extubation after surgery: administration of low-dose opioid-based general anaesthesia during cardiac surgery and use of a time-directed extubation protocol after surgery. The primary outcome was risk of mortality. Secondary outcomes included postoperative complications, reintubation within 24 hours of surgery, time to extubation, length of stay in the intensive care unit and in the hospital, quality of life after surgery and hospital costs. Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted study data. We contacted study authors for additional information. We calculated a Peto odds ratio (OR) for risk of mortality and used a random-effects model to report risk ratio (RR), mean difference (MD) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for all secondary outcomes. Main results: We included 28 trials (4438 participants) in the updated review. We considered most participants to be at low to moderate risk of death after surgery. We assessed two studies as having low risk of bias and 11 studies high risk of bias. Investigators reported no differences in risk of mortality within the first year after surgery between low-dose versus high-dose opioid-based general anaesthesia groups (OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.25 to 1.12; eight trials, 1994 participants, low level of evidence) and between a time-directed extubation protocol versus usual care (OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.45 to 1.45; 10 trials, 1802 participants, low level of evidence). Researchers noted no significant differences between low-dose and high-dose opioid-based anaesthesia groups in the following postoperative complications: myocardial infarction (RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.48 to 1.99; eight trials, 1683 participants, low level of evidence), stroke (RR 1.17, 95% CI 0.36 to 3.78; five trials, 562 participants, low level of evidence) and tracheal reintubation (RR 1.77, 95% CI 0.38 to 8.27; five trials, 594 participants, low level of evidence). Comparisons with usual care revealed no significant differences in the risk of postoperative complications associated with a time-directed extubation protocol: myocardial infarction (RR 0.59, 95% CI 0.27 to 1.31; eight trials, 1378 participants, low level of evidence), stroke (RR 0.85, 95% CI 0.33 to 2.16; 11 trials, 1646 participants, low level of evidence) and tracheal reintubation (RR 1.34, 95% CI 0.74 to 2.41; 12 trials, 1261 participants, low level of evidence). Although levels of heterogeneity were high, low-dose opioid anaesthesia was associated with reduced time to extubation (reduction of 4.3 to 10.5 hours, 14 trials, 2486 participants, low level of evidence) and length of stay in the intensive care unit (reduction of 0.4 to 7.0 hours, 12 trials, 1394 participants, low level of evidence). Use of a time-directed extubation protocol was associated with reduced time to extubation (reduction of 3.7 to 8.8 hours, 16 trials, 2024 participants, low level of evidence) and length of stay in the intensive care unit (reduction of 3.9 to 10.5 hours, 13 trials, 1888 participants, low level of evidence). However, these two fast-track care interventions were not associated with reduced total length of stay in the hospital (low level of evidence). Authors' conclusions: Low-dose opioid-based general anaesthesia and time-directed extubation protocols for fast-track interventions have risks of mortality and major postoperative complications similar to those of conventional (not fast-track) care, and therefore appear to be safe for use in patients considered to be at low to moderate risk. These fast-track interventions reduced time to extubation and shortened length of stay in the intensive care unit but did not reduce length of stay in the hospital.
Wong, W. T., Lai, V. K. W., Chee, Y. E., & Lee, A. (2016, September 12). Fast-track cardiac care for adult cardiac surgical patients. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley and Sons Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD003587.pub3