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Original Article
Fast track surgery for biliodigestive derivation: Initial experience
Daniel Rios-Cruz1, Joaquin Valerio-Ureña1, Julio Abraham Hernández-Ascencio1, Patricia Galindo-López2, Veronica Torres-Medina3
1Department of Surgery, High Speciality Hospital of Veracruz. Avenida 20 de noviembre S/N Centro. CP. 91900 Veracruz, Veracruz, México.
2School of Medicine University of Veracruz, México.
3Department of Anesthesiology, High Speciality Hospital of Veracruz. Avenida 20 de noviembre S/N Centro. CP. 91900 Veracruz, Veracruz, México.

Article ID: 100028IJHPDDC2015

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Veracruz, Veracruz,México, C.P. 91900
Phone: (52) 22 97 80 66 11
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Rios-Cruz D, Valerio-Ureña J, Hernández-Ascencio JA, Galindo-López P, Torres-Medina V. Fast track surgery for biliodigestive derivation: Initial experience. Int J Hepatobiliary Pancreat Dis 2015;5:9–16.

Aims: Talk about Fast Track Surgery is referring to a series of measures implemented to accelerate postoperative recovery of the patient. This has been well demonstrated for colorectal surgery with good results. There is very little experience on its application to biliary surgery. The aim of this study is to describe the initial experience of the application of Fast Track Surgery protocol to biliodigestive surgery at high speciality hospital of Veracruz.
Methods: Descriptive, transversal, prospective study. Patients undergoing some kind of biliodigestive derivation, from January 2012 to December 2013 in our hospital under the protocol of Fast Track Surgery, were included.
Results: 12 patients were treated. Nine underwent Hepp-Couinaud type derivation; three, common bile duct-duodedum anastomosis was performed. No patient remained with probes or drains after surgery. The time to start orally was 7.27 ± 2.68 hours; time to start mobilization out of bed was 5.39 ± 2.50 hours. Patients were discharged at 73.68 ± 43.81 hours post-surgical event. Two patients had surgical site infection. No re-admissions were presented.
Conclusion: Application of Fast Track Surgery protocol appears to be safe and feasible. However, it is necessary to expand the sample of patients.

Keywords: Biliary tract, Biliodigestive derivation, Enhanced recovery after surgery, Fast track surgery


In the last years the pre, trans and postoperative traditional cares of general surgery have been questioned and even more regarding to gastrointestinal tract [1]. From nutritional support preoperatively to postoperative fasting time through the incision size, if open surgery, have discussed their role in patient recovery.

Traditionally, total fasting of eight hours before sugery, intestinal preparation if resection and anastomosis is programed, big incisions, rest in bed for long periods, were part of a common denominator of patients who underwent gastrointestinal surgery.

These concepts have been modified in the last decades. Kehlet et al. [2] were the first to establish a specific protocol called Fast-Track; based in the best scientific evidence seeks to minimize the surgical stress response, accelerate recovery, decrease complications and consequently, shorten hospital stay without compromising, therefore, patient safety.

The enhanced recovery programs have been subject of numerous systematic reviews in colorectal surgery and most of them have demonstrated a shortened in hospital stay after surgery, lower rate of complications and decreased hospital costs [3] [4] [5] [6]. There are also reports about its use in vascular and urological surgery with good results [7] [8] [9] [10]. However, there is a little evidence of its use in hepatobiliary surgery. A recent systematic review suggests that the application of Fast Track Surgery protocol appears to be safe and feasible [11].

In our hospital, we have implemented a enhanced recovery protocol in patients undergoing biliodigestive derivation. The aim of this paper is to present our initial experience with this protocol.

Materials and Methods

All patients who underwent some form of biliodigestive derivation, higher than 18 years, both sexs, under the Fast Track Surgery protocol from January 2012 to December 2013 were included. The protocol consists in to inform the patient what is going to happen during his/her hospital stay, what to expect and what is his/her role in the recovery, allow patient's fluid intake 250 ml up to two hours before the surgical event and, if the patient desired, a water jelly 150 ml. During surgery, either foley catheter or nasogastric tube is used if so required, which are removed before patient reversal from anesthesia; at the discretion of the surgical team judicious use of abdominal drains is performed only used if deemed necessary. All anastomoses were performed in a single layer with absorbable stitches 4-0. All the surgeries were performed under general anesthesia and high lumbar regional blockage. The site chosen for the incision is 2 cm below the right costal margin extending it to two or three inches beyond the left midline by following a hockey stick. Intravenous analgesia starts just finishing to intubate the patient and at the end of surgery is complemented. Then continue oral analgesia with tramadol + paracetamol tablets (325 mg and 37.5 mg, respectively) every 8 hours starting from two hours after having extubated (after verifying the proper state of consciousness of the patient) and ketorolac 30 mg IV every 6 hours. Taking adequate analgesia, patients are asked to begin mobilizing out of bed as soon as possible, first sitting in a chair and then walking. Once initiated mobilization out of bed, feeding by mouth starts just with liquids which progresses as the patient will tolerate and usually within the first 12 hours after surgery. Patient is discharged having adequate analgesia orally, tolerating diet, walking without presenting a contraindication for hospital discharge as systemic inflammatory response, uncontrolled pain or intolerance to the oral route. The specific protocol is given in Table 1.

Descriptive statistics were used to express the data.

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Table 1: Fast Track Protocol followed in patients with biliodigestive derivation surgery


During the period, 12 patients underwent some form of biliodigestive derivation under the established protocol; 10 women and two men. Age was 41.94 ±11.89 years. Nine patients underwent Hepp-Couinaud secondary to a biliary tract injury who were referred to our hospital. Three patients underwent common bile duct-duodenum anastomosis for palliation of advanced head pancreatic cancer. Surgery time was 5.24 ± 2.70 hr. All patients undergoing Hepp-Couinaud were placed urinary catheter which was removed before patient reversed from anesthesia. Six patients had nasogastric tube placed during surgery to remove the air passing into the gastric chamber during anesthetic induction and was removed before patient was extubated in all cases. By positioning the tube was obtained 10 ml average of residual liquids ingested before surgery. Careful control of hemostasis was performed in all cases. No intra-abdominal drains were used. Respiratory exercises began in the room with the patient awake, this about 4 hours after surgery. The mobilization out of bed was given to 5.39 ± 2.50 hrs after surgery. The start time of the oral route was presented to 7.27 ± 2.68 hrs after surgery. Three patients had cholangitis with piobilia documented and of these three, two patients had surgical site infection that was treated with cures. The hospital stay after surgery was 73.68 ± 43.81 hr. Being higher in the three patient with biliary tract sepsis and inflammatory response and / or surgical wound infections. No re-admissions occurred during the first 30 days after discharge. During the follow-up 9.04 ± 6.85 months only one patient died due to pancreatic cancer for which he was carrying; the remaining patients continue under close monitoring at the office without complications due to the surgical procedure Table 2. Infected wounds were closed in a delayed manner. One of these two patients with severe cholangitis studied by computed tomography showed multiple colangiolares abscesses and one of them was broken and sealed with the diaphragm; pus from biliary tract during surgery was obtained and culture was positive for E. coli. This patient had a hospital stay of 8 days after surgery because of the need for close monitoring and the use of intravenous antibiotics.

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Table 2: Specific characteristics of patients


The protocols of accelerated recovery have come to break paradigms around the perioperative environment of the patient. While it has been documented that general anesthesia reduces the protective laryngeal reflex and increases the risk of aspiration, has also been shown that subsequent to ingest a volume of 100 ml of solid or liquid food, the stomach only has about 10 ml of liquid material after an hour and about 30 ml of solid material after three hours. For a passive regurgitation and aspiration during anesthesia, some gastric volume must be present and this is estimated to be around 200 ml. Preoperative fluid intake has been associated with better well-being, less thirst and dryness of the mouth and lower postoperative anxiety. Allow habitual coffee intake to coffee drinkers in the morning, can even reduce postoperative headache due to caffeine deprivation [12].

Other authors consider that fasting can be reduced safely up to two to three hours before the surgery [13]. Soreide et al. have shown that four hours of fasting are sufficient for a complete gastric emptying [14].

After open abdominal surgery, patients who were treated with an infusion of glucose during the night before surgery, presented a reduction in insulin resistance of 50% compared with patients who fasted the previous night [15]. Why give so much importance to insulin resistance in a patient undergoing any type of surgery? The insulin resistance is an important phenomenon that lasts up to three weeks after uncomplicated open abdominal surgery [16] and the degree of insulin resistance is an independent predictor of in-hospital stay [17].

The main objective of carbohydrate intake before surgery is to produce the change in metabolism that normally takes place when the patient eats breakfast.

Based on the previous, we can say that allowing fluid intake two hours before anesthesia for elective surgery is safe and improves subjective well-being of the patient. Furthermore, oral carbohydrate intake before surgery reduces surgical stress [12].

For this reason we allow our patients the intake of carbohydrate rich drinks or coffee and none of them developed reflux event during tracheal intubation and in patients in which nasogastric tube was used, the average output of such liquids through the same was 10 ml.

The principal factors to keep an inpatient after uncomplicated major abdominal surgery is the need for intravenous analgesia (aching), intravenous fluids (persistent bowel dysfunction) and bed rest (lack of mobility of the patient). These factors interact with each other and retard the patient reintegration to normal activities. Part of the protocol of Fast Track Surgery is to combat these factors with the aim of accelerating postoperative recovery of the patient and with it, decrease the time in which he/she can be incorporated into daily life. The fact that the patient has probes and catheters, prevent free movement either by fear of those devices or discomfort they generate. There are studies which show that the routine use of the nasogastric tube is not justified because there are no advantages over its use after intestinal surgery [18]. Studies have shown that the use of drains in the peritoneal cavity after intestinal resection and anastomosis do not reduce the incidence or severity of an anastomotic leak and its complications [19] [20]. Therefore, in patients submitted to surgery on the Fast Track protocol Surgery, abdominal drains are not used routinely [21]. Likewise with the urinary catheter; if the surgery was performed without complications, its permanence may limit early mobility of the patient. All our patients left the operating room without nasogastric tubes, urinary catheters or drains into the abdominal cavity.

The main foundation of early postoperative mobilization of the patient depends on the pain control. A Cochrane review states that the optimal analgesia that allows early mobilization of the postoperative patient is the continuous epidural analgesia or local anesthesia based on opioids [22] . The employment of intravenous opioids does not produce the same effect as epidural analgesia. NSAIDs can provide additional analgesia and the combination of paracetamol and NSAIDs provide superior analgesia. Our patients were managed with epidural analgesia with 150 mg of 7.5% ropivacaine before reverting to general anesthesia, subsequently administered intravenously a dose of paracetamol and NSAIDs for later change the route of administration to the oral route.

A meta-analysis concludes that there are no advantages to keep a patient fasting after gastrointestinal resection [23]. Early feeding reduces the risk of infection and length of hospital stay. Also, early feeding was not associated with increased risk of distal anastomotic dehiscence feeding site. Therefore, the patient should be encouraged to start orally four hours after the surgical event. Bed rest only increases insulin resistance and the loss of muscle mass but decreases muscle strength, lung function and tissue oxygenation [24]. Therefore, the patient should be moved out of bed at least two hours on the day of surgery and the remaining days six hours until hospital discharge. On the basis of these principles, patients showed adequate analgesia, which allowed early mobilization out of bed and consequently allowed oral intake. Another objective of the program is to reduce hospital stay. Usually, the biliodigestives surgeries are characterized by longer hospital stays for underlying pathology that is mostly a result of biliary injury. The traditional postoperative behavior is based on prolonged fasting due to anastomosis performed under the argument of intestinal healing. Most of our patients were discharged between 48 hr and 72 hr after the surgical event (common bile duct-duodenum and Hepp-Couinaud respectively) but three of our patients, subjected to Hepp-Couinaud, presented sepsis syndrome associated with cholangitis and piobilia and two of them also had surgical site infections a positive culture for E. coli, so, despite having started early mobilization and orally, their hospital stay was prolonged due to the discomfort it caused their infection to the patient. We can not attribute the surgical site infection to the Fast Track Protocol, as these patients had an identified site of infection (bile duct) that caused contamination to the surgical site.

This is one of the first works that seek to implement an accelerated recovery for biliary surgery. An important limitation of our study is the small number of patients that we collect throughout the study period. In our hospital it has been difficult to break traditional paradigms on perioperative care of patients and few surgeons and anesthesiologists who are open to new knowledge and the possibility to change these paradigms and this is reflected in the small sample that we collect. Another limitation of our study is its way of being descriptive. We do not have a control group with which to compare our results and give more validity and this is partly due to this type of surgery is performed mostly by the group of surgeons who carried out the study. It is important to mention, in this protocol, the patient plays an important role in their recovery so it is required to be well informed about what will happen before and after the surgical event, this includes their collaboration to get out of bed and start walking the day of surgery has been performed.


In summary the application of Fast Track Surgery protocol appears to be safe and feasible. However, it is necessary to expand the sample of patients.

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Author Contributions:
Daniel Rios-Cruz – Conception and design, Acquisition of data, Analysis and interpretation of data, Drafting the article, Critical revision of the article, Final approval of the version to be published
Joaquin Valerio-Ureña – Conception and design, Acquisition of data, Analysis and interpretation of data, Drafting the article, Critical revision of the article, Final approval of the version to be published
Julio Abraham Hernández-Ascencio – Conception and design, Acquisition of data, Drafting the article, Critical revision of the article, Final approval of the version to be published
Patricia Galindo-López – Conception and design, Acquisition of data, Drafting the article, Critical revision of the article, Final approval of the version to be published.
Veronica Torres-Medina – Conception and design, Acquisition of data, Drafting the article, Critical revision of the article, Final approval of the version to be published.
Guarantor of submission
The corresponding author is the guarantor of submission.
Source of support
Conflict of interest
Authors declare no conflict of interest.
© 2015 Daniel Rios-Cruz et al. This article is distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided the original author(s) and original publisher are properly credited. Please see the copyright policy on the journal website for more information.

About The Authors

Daniel Rios Cruz is Surgeon at Hospital de Alta Especialidad de Veracruz. He earned undergraduate degree of General Medicine from Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad Autonoma de Yucatán, México and postgraduate degree as General Surgeon from Universidad Veracruzana in Veracruz, Veracruz, Mexico. He has a high speciality course in bariatric surgery and laparoscopic gastrointestinal advanced surgery. He has published many research papers in national and international academic journals and authored an electronic book "Topicos selectos de gastroenterologia" wich will be available very soon. His research interests include obesity surgery, hepatopancreatobiliary surgery and fast track surgery.

Joaquin Valerio Ureña is Chief of the division of surgery at Hospital de Alta Especialidad de Veracruz in Mexico. He earned undergraduate degree General Medicine from Universidad Veracruzana and postgraduate degree from General Surgeon from Centro Medico Nacional Siglo XXI del IMSS. He has a highly specialized course in gastrointestinal endoscopy and digestive physiology and motility at Instituto Nacional de Nutricion y Ciencias Médicas Salvador Zubiran in Mexico. He has published many research papers in national and international academic journals and authored chapters in books. His search interests include fast track sugery, gastrointestinal physiology and hepatopancreatobiliary surgery.

Julio Abraham Hernández Ascencio is General Surgeon at Hospital General de Boca del Rio Veracruz, México. He earned undergraduate degree Medico General from Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán en Mérida, Yucatán, México and postgraduate degree form Cirujano General from Hospital de Alta Especialidad de Veracruz; Universidad Veracruzana. Veracruz, Veracruz, México. His research interests include gastrointestinal surgery.

Dra. Patricia Galindo López is a medicine student at Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Veracruzana. Her research interest includes gastrointestinal physiology.

Dra Veronica Torres Medina is Anesthesiologist at highly specialized hospital of Veracruz. She studied General Medicine at Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo. Morelia, Michoacan, México and Specialty in Anesthesiology in Hospital de Especialidades del Centro Médico Nacional SIGLO XXI, IMSS, México.