PURPOSE: The patient-perceived barriers towards an optimized short-term recovery after major emergency abdominal surgery are unknown. The purpose was to investigate which patient-perceived barriers dominated concerning nutrition, mobilization, and early discharge after major emergency abdominal surgery.
METHODS: An explorative study, which focused on patient-perceived barriers for early discharge, mobilization, and nutrition, was performed within an enhanced recovery perioperative setting in major emergency abdominal surgery. Patients were asked daily from postoperative day (POD) 1 to POD 7 of their self-perceived barriers towards getting fully mobilization and resuming normal oral intake. From POD 3 to POD 7, patients were asked regarding self-perceived barriers towards early discharge.
RESULTS: A total of 101 patients that underwent major emergency abdominal surgery were included for final analysis from March 2017 to August 2017. The main patient self-perceived barrier towards sufficient nutrition was dominated by food aversion (including loss of appetite). The main patient self-perceived barrier towards sufficient mobilization throughout the study period was fatigue. The patient self-perceived barriers towards early discharge were more diffuse and lacked a dominant variable throughout the study period; however, fatigue was the most pronounced barrier throughout the study period. The leading initial variables were postoperative ileus, insufficient nutrition, and epidural catheter. The leading later variables besides fatigue included awaiting normalization of biochemistry values, pain, and the perception of insufficient oral intake.
CONCLUSIONS: The major patient-perceived factors that limited postoperative recovery after major emergency abdominal surgery included food aversion regarding normalization of oral intake and fatigue regarding mobilization and early discharge.