The impact of minimally invasive surgery on hospital readmissions, emergency department visits and functional recovery after distal pancreatectomy

BACKGROUND A recent RCT showed similar postoperative outcomes and a reduced time to functional recovery in patients undergoing minimally invasive distal pancreatectomy (DP) compared to open approach. However, it reported very-high post-discharge readmission rates, calling for further investigation. The aim of our study was to evaluate the extent to which minimally invasive surgery impacts on postoperative readmissions following DP.
METHODS Clinical data for patients undergoing DP between 2011 and 2018 were reviewed. Primary outcome was hospital readmission at 90 days after surgery. Secondary outcomes included post-discharge emergency department (ED) visits and time to functional recovery. Regression analyses were performed to evaluate the impact of the laparoscopic approach and other perioperative factors.
RESULTS Overall, 376 consecutive patients underwent DP during the study period. Laparoscopy was successfully performed in 219 (58%) patients. Overall, 62 patients (16.5%) returned to the ED after discharge, 41 (18.7%) of laparoscopically operated patients, and 21 (13.4%) of those undergoing open surgery (p = 0.162). Forty-six (12.2%) of them required readmission, 31 (14.2%) after laparoscopic, and 15 (9.6%) after open procedures (p = 0.179). At multivariate regression, a low preoperative physical status (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.2-4.7; p = 0.017), occurrence of pancreatic fistula (OR 6.8, 95% CI 2.9-15.9; p < 0.001), and post-pancreatectomy hemorrhage (OR 3.9, 95% CI 1.2-13.1; p = 0.025) were significantly associated with 90-day readmission, while laparoscopy had no impact. Median time to reach functional recovery was 5 (IQR 4-6) days. At multivariate analysis, laparoscopy reduced time to functional recovery by 13% (95% CI - 19 to - 6%; p < 0.001), time to adequate oral intake by 19% (95% CI - 27 to - 10%; p < 0.001), and time to adequate pain control by 12% (95% CI - 18 to - 5%; p < 0.001).
CONCLUSION Hospital readmissions and ED visits following DP were not influenced by the surgical approach. A low preoperative physical status, occurrence of postoperative pancreatic fistula and hemorrhage were significantly associated with post-discharge readmission within 90 days. Laparoscopy reduced time to functional recovery.

as reported in: Surg Endosc. 2020 Oct 6 [Epub ahead of print]