Enhanced recovery after surgery at cesarean delivery to reduce postoperative length of stay: a randomized controlled trial

Nickolas C. Teigen, Nicole Sahasrabudhe, Georgios Doulaveris, Xianhong Xie, Abdissa Negassa, Jeffrey Bernstein, Peter S. Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Our objective was to determine whether an enhanced recovery after surgery pathway at the time of cesarean birth would permit a reduction in postoperative length of stay and improve postoperative patient satisfaction compared to standard perioperative care. Materials and Methods: Patients undergoing nonemergent cesarean delivery at ≥37 weeks of gestation were randomized to enhanced recovery after surgery or standard care. Enhanced recovery after surgery involved multiple evidence-based interventions bundled into 1 protocol. The primary outcome was discharge on postoperative day 2. Secondary outcome variables included pain medication requirements, breastfeeding rates, and various measures of patient satisfaction. Results: From September 27, 2017, to May 2, 2018, a total of 58 women were randomized to enhanced recovery after surgery and 60 women to standard care. The groups were similar in medical comorbidities and in demographic and perioperative characteristics. Enhanced recovery after surgery was not associated with a significantly increased rate of postoperative day 2 discharges when compared with standard care (8.6% vs 3.3%, respectively; odds ratio, 2.74; 95% confidence interval, 0.51–14.70), but it was associated with a significantly reduced postoperative length of stay when compared with standard care, with a median length of stay of 73.5 hours (interquartile range, 71.08–76.62) vs 75.5 hours (interquartile range, 72.86–76.84) from surgery, difference in median length of stay (–1.92; 95% confidence interval, –3.80 to –0.29). Enhanced recovery after surgery was not associated with a reduction in postoperative narcotic use (117.16 ± 54.17 vs 119.38 ± 47.98 morphine milligram equivalents; mean difference, –2.22; 95% confidence interval, –20.86 to 16.42). More subjects randomized to the enhanced recovery after surgery protocol reported breastfeeding at discharge (67.2% vs 48.3%; P =.046). When patients were surveyed 6 weeks postpartum, those in the enhanced recovery after surgery group were more likely to feel that their expectations were met and that they had achieved their postoperative milestones earlier, and to report continued breastfeeding. Conclusion: Enhanced recovery after surgery at cesarean delivery was not associated with an increase in the number of women discharged on postoperative day 2, but that may have been related to factors other than patients’ medical readiness for discharge. Evidence that enhanced recovery after surgery at cesarean delivery may have the potential to improve outcomes such as day of discharge is suggested by the observed reduction in overall postoperative length of stay, improved patient satisfaction, and an increase in breastfeeding rates. Even better results may accrue with more provider and patient experience with enhanced recovery after surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372.e1-372.e10
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020



  • ERAS
  • cesarean delivery
  • enhanced recovery
  • postoperative recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Cite this