Background:  Fast track surgery is a concept that utilises a variety of techniques to reduce the surgical stress response, allowing a shortened length of stay, improved outcomes and decreased time to full recovery.
Aims:  To evaluate a peri‐operative Fast Track Surgical Protocol (FTSP) in patients referred for abdominal surgery.
Methods:  All patients undergoing a laparotomy over a 12‐month period were entered prospectively on a clinical database. Data were retrospectively analysed.
Results:  Over the study period, 72 patients underwent a laparotomy. Average patient age was 54 years and average weight and BMI were 67.2 kg and 26 respectively. Sixty three (88%) patients had a vertical midline incision (VMI). There were no intraoperative blood transfusions. The median length of stay (LOS) was 3.0 days. Thirty eight patients (53%) were discharged on or before post op day 3, seven (10%) of whom were discharged on postoperative day 2. On stepwise regression analysis, the following were found to be independently associated with reduced LOS: able to tolerate early enteral nutrition, good performance status, use of COX inhibitor and transverse incision. In comparison with colleagues at the SGOG not undertaking FTS for their patients, the authors’ LOS was lower and the RANZCOG modified Quality Indicators (QI’s) did not demonstrate excess morbidity.
Conclusions:  Patients undergoing fast track surgery can be discharged from hospital with a reduced LOS, without an increased readmission rate and with comparative outcomes to non‐fast tracked patients.