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The efficacy and safety of fast track surgery (FTS) in patients after hip fracture surgery: a meta-analysis

Abstract

Background

Fast track surgery (FTS) has been gradually applied in perioperative management of orthopedic surgery, but there still some research suspected that the prognosis of patients is not as expected and the cost is high, the effect of the FTS still urgently needed for support by evidence-based medicine.

Methods

We retrieved RCTs from medical research literature databases. Risk ratios (RR), standard mean difference (SMD), and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated to compare the primary and safety endpoints.

Results

Overall, a total of 8886 patients were retrieved from 57 articles, of which 4448 patients (50.06%) were randomized to experimental group whereas 4438 patients (49.94%) were randomized to control group. The result showed that FTS could significantly shorten the length of stay (LOS), decrease the visual analog scale (VAS), reduce the leaving bed time and the hospitalization costs, and improve Harris hip joint function score. The incidence of complications such as respiratory system infection, urinary system infection, venous thrombus embolism (VTE), pressure sore, incision infection, constipation, and prosthesis dislocation also has been decreased significantly. Meanwhile, FTS improved patients’ satisfaction apparently.

Conclusions

This meta-analysis reveals that FTS could significantly shorten the length of stay, alleviate the pain, reduce the leaving bed time and the hospitalization costs, and improve hip function. The incidence of complications also has been decreased significantly. Meanwhile, FTS has been spoken highly in patients in terms of nursing satisfaction. Its efficacy and safety were proved to be reliable.

Introduction

Hip fracture is a public health problem that could come with number of complications even threaten your life [1]. It could happen in any age and most common caused by falling [2]. Surgery is the most common treatment, and the rehabilitation therapy is being encouraged in order to avoid complications and resume routine activities of life. With the increase of age, the realization of rehabilitation plan is more limited. Especially with other basic diseases, the difficulty of rehabilitation increases, and the recovery of hip fracture may be limited [3].

Fast track surgery (FTS), also known as enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS), is a new surgical concept aiming at early ambulation, discharge, and return to activities of daily living [4, 5]. It uses a series of perioperative optimization measures confirmed by evidence-based medicine to eliminate the factors that delay postoperative recovery [6]. There are 3 parts of FTS: preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative [7]. Psychological comfort and physical muscle training might reduce patients’ response to psychological and surgical stress preoperative; intraoperative, optimizing anesthesia, and procedure (minimally invasive surgery, MIS), which can reduce pain and shorten recovery time; postoperative nutrition support and pain management are beneficial to improve organ dysfunction, and early rehabilitation exercise could prevent surgery-related complications [8,9,10,11,12,13].

Currently, the concept of FTS has been widely used in surgical malignant tumors and laparoscopic surgery (especially colorectal surgery), which is expected to be extended to other surgical specialties safely and effectively [14]. Though it is also gradually applied to the perioperative management of orthopedic surgery, the effect of perioperative in elderly patients with hip fracture is still controversial [15, 16]. Eriksson et al. pointed out that there was no difference in mortality or length of stay (LOS) between the FTS group and the standard group [17]. The result that the incidence of adverse events (AEs) in FTS group was less than standard group has no statistical significance. According to the research conducted by Hansson et al., the FTS could shorten the time to operation, which is the only significant difference between FTS group and standard group, but there is no difference in the LOS or the incidence of AEs [18]. Haugan et al. also showed that there was no statistically significant difference in mortality and readmission rates between the FTS and the standard care models for first-time admission [19]. All in all, the data of FTS in the rehabilitation and prognosis of elder patients did not meet the expectations.

The purpose of this article is to analyze the effect of nursing intervention based on FTS concept on perioperative pain management, postoperative length of stay and incidence of complications of hip fracture in the elderly by meta-analysis. It could provide effective evidence for perioperative nursing of hip fracture in the elderly.

Methods

Search strategy

Published articles were searched by two researchers for comparing the efficacy and safety of fast-track surgery (FTS) in elderly patients with hip fracture following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines [20]. We have searched the RCTs systematically in the databases such as the Cochrane Library, Embase, PubMed, Google Scholar, Baidu Scholar, CNKI, and VIP with no restrictions on language or publication date from January 1, 2015, to August 1, 2020. The following keywords and MeSH terms were used: ('enhanced recovery' or 'ERAS' or 'fast track surgery' or 'accelerated rehabilitation' or 'accelerated care') and 'hip fracture' and 'standard care'. Additional relevant studies were retrieved from reviews, meta-analyses, and other literature. Two authors screened and double-reviewed the retrieved studies. In the event of a dispute, it shall be settled by the third author. In this meta-analysis, all data were extracted from previously published studies, thus patient consent and ethical approval were not required.

Inclusion and exclusion criteria

The following inclusion criteria were used: (1) studies that assessed the efficacy and safety of FTS in elderly patients with hip fracture, (2) the study was a randomized controlled trial (RCT), (3) the study subjects were elderly patients undergoing hip fracture, (4) general information (e.g., gender, age, disease type) of the experimental group and the control group was not statistically different at baseline, (5) at least one of the evaluated groups was based on FTS, (6) included articles provide sufficient data for analysis, (7) language was limited to English or Chinese, and (8) the study was extracted from January 1, 2015, to August 1, 2020.

The following exclusion criteria were used: (1) nonclinical trials, case reports or series; (2) animal experiments; (3) semi-randomized controlled trials or non-randomized trials; and (4) articles with incorrect or incomplete data, or articles whose data could not be extracted.

Endpoints

The primary endpoints for this study were length of stay (LOS), Harris hip joint function score, VAS, satisfaction.

The secondary endpoints for this study were the leaving bed time.

The postoperative complication endpoints included respiratory system infection, urinary system infection, venous thrombus embolism (VTE), pressure sore, incision infection, constipation, and prosthesis dislocation.

Data extraction

The two authors independently reviewed the contents of the retrieval research. The primary endpoints were extracted by two authors and verified by a third author. The extracted data included the following main information: first author’s name, year of publication, sample size, sex ratio, average age, clinical diagnosis or operative type, FTS measures, follow-up time, and endpoints measured in each study. If the contents of the studies needed to be clarified, please contact the first author of the study. Disagreements were resolved through consensus or consultation with a third author.

Risk-of-bias assessments

The quality of the methodology in included studies was independently evaluated by the two authors according to the Cochrane Risk of Bias criteria. Each quality item was divided into low risk, high risk, and no obvious risk. The seven items used to estimate bias in each trial included randomization sequence generation, allocation concealment, blinding of participants and personnel, blinding of outcome assessment, incomplete outcome data, selective reporting, and other biases.

Statistical analysis

Stata (version 12.0, Stata Corp, College Station, Texas) was used to analyse and pool the individual research results. Pooled results were recorded as risk ratios (RR) Standard mean difference (SMD) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) with two-sided P values. P values <0.05 were considered to be statistically significant. Heterogeneity was evaluated using the I2 test. The heterogeneity was considered to be small when I2<50% and substantial when I2>50%. The fixed effect model was used when I2 < 50%, while the random effect model was used when I2>50%. A funnel plot was generated to examine the publication bias and to explore the sources of heterogeneity if more than ten studies were included to assess this endpoint.

Results

Studies retrieved and characteristics

A total of 16018 relevant studies were enrolled according to PRISMA guidelines. The titles and abstracts of the studies were screened to exclude irrelevant studies. Then, we further eliminated the unfit studies by reading the full text of the articles. Finally, 57 studies [21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51,52,53,54,55,56,57,58,59,60,61,62,63,64,65,66,67,68,69,70,71,72,73,74,75,76,77] were included according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria and they had a total of 8886 patients as shown in Fig. 1. In general, 4448 patients (50.06 %) were randomized to experimental group whereas 4438 patients (49.94 %) were randomized to control group. All studies included in this meta-analysis were RCTs. The basic characteristics of the individuals from the trials are described in Table 1.

Fig. 1
figure1

Flow diagram of the study selection process. CNKI China national knowledge infrastructure, VIP China Science and Technology Journal Database

Table 1 Characteristics of studies included in the meta-analysis. FTS fast track surgery, NA not applicable

Literature quality evaluation

The Cochrane Risk of Bias criteria was used to evaluate the quality of the retrieved studies by two authors. The included studies were all randomized controlled trials. Fifty-seven studies [21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51,52,53,54,55,56,57,58,59,60,61,62,63,64,65,66,67,68,69,70,71,72,73,74,75,76,77] described random sequence generation and allocation concealment. Four studies [53, 57, 66, 72] described blinding of participants and personnel. Four studies [53, 57, 66, 72] described blinding of outcome assessment. None of the studies described other biases. The literature quality score is shown in Table 2.

Table 2 Assessment of methodological quality of included studies

Primary endpoints

Length of stay (LOS)

Thirty-three studies [21,22,23,24,25,26, 30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37, 39, 42, 43, 45, 48, 52, 54, 56,57,58, 60, 62, 64, 67,68,69, 73, 75, 76] reported length of stay (LOS). In total, 3526 patients were involved to evaluate LOS, wherein 1773 were assigned to experimental group and 1753 were assigned to control group. The result showed that patients’ LOS in experimental group was significantly less than that in control group (SMD: −1.94, 95% CI −2.29 to −1.59, I2=94.7%) as shown inFig. 2.

Fig. 2
figure2

Comparison of LOS between the experimental group and the control group. SMD standardized mean difference, LOS length of stay

Harris Hip Joint Function Score

Harris hip joint function score scale is a widely used method to evaluate hip function. The higher the total score, the stronger the function. Harris hip joint function score was reported in 25 studies [21, 23, 25, 27,28,29, 33,34,35, 38, 41, 43, 48,49,50,51, 55, 56, 63, 65, 70, 72,73,74, 77]. 2441 patients were involved in all, wherein 1232 were assigned to the experimental group and 1209 were assigned to control group. The result showed that patients’ score in experimental group was significantly greater than that in control group (SMD: 2.22, 95% CI 1.73 to 2.71, I2=95.9%) as shown in Fig. 3. The random effect model was applied. Subgroup analysis was performed according to the follow-up period and divided into 1 month after surgery, 6 months after surgery, and not applicable three group. The result of follow-up time subgroup showed that patients’ Harris hip joint function score 6 months after surgery in experimental group was significantly higher than that in control group, though the not applicable group is the highest. (SMD: 1.50, 95% CI 0.88 to 2.13; SMD: 2.20, 95% CI 1.27 to 3.12; SD, 95% CI 2.21 to 4.34) as shown in Fig. 4.

Fig. 3
figure3

Comparison of Harris hip joint function score between the experimental group and the control group. SMD standardized mean difference

Fig. 4
figure4

Comparison of Harris hip joint function score between the experimental group and the control group (subgroup analysis). SMD standardized mean difference

VAS

Visual analog scale (VAS) was used to score the pain degree of patients, which the score was in direct proportion to the pain degree. It was reported by 13 studies [25, 27, 28, 37, 40, 41, 44, 51, 56, 58, 70, 72, 76] included 1293 patients, wherein 649 were assigned to the experimental group and 644 were assigned to control group. The result showed that FTS could reduce VAS significantly in experimental group than control group (SMD: −2.38, 95% CI −3.26 to −1.49, I2=97.4%) as shown in Fig. 5. The random effect model was applied. Subgroup analysis was performed according to the follow-up time and divided into 1 month after surgery and others’ group. The result of follow-up subgroup was showed that the VAS in experimental group was significantly less than that in control group in 1 month after surgery subgroup (SMD: −2.76, 95% CI −3.79 to −1.73; SMD: −1.93, 95% CI −3.38 to −0.47) as shown in Fig. 6.

Fig. 5
figure5

Comparison of VAS between the experimental group and the control group. SMD standardized mean difference, VAS visual analog scale

Fig. 6
figure6

Comparison of VAS between the experimental group and the control group. (subgroup analysis). SMD standardized mean difference, VAS visual analog scale

Satisfaction

Sixteen studies [21, 26, 32, 42, 45,46,47, 52, 58,59,60, 65, 68, 69, 75, 76] reported patients’ satisfaction about the FTS. In total, 903 out of 930 patients in experimental group satisfied with the FTS while 740 out of 908 patients in the control group satisfied with the standard care. The result showed that FTS care significantly raised the satisfaction compared to the control group (97.1% vs 81.0%) (RR: 1.19, 95% CI 1.15 to 1.23, I2=68.9%) as shown in Fig. 7.

Fig. 7
figure7

Comparison of satisfaction between the experimental group and the control group. RR risk ratio

Secondary endpoints

The result showed that compared to the control group, FTS could significantly reduce the leaving bed time (SMD: −3.09, 95% CI −4.27 to −1.92, I2=97.6%) as shown in Fig. 8; it also could decrease the hospitalization costs (SMD: −4.83, 95% CI −6.32 to −3.34, I2=98.5%) as shown in Fig. 9.

Fig. 8
figure8

Comparison of the leaving bed time between the experimental group and the control group. SMD standardized mean difference

Fig. 9
figure9

Comparison of cost between the experimental group and the control group. SMD standardized mean difference

Fig. 10
figure10

Incidence of respiratory infection between the experimental group and the control group. RR risk ratio

Postoperative complications endpoints

The result showed that compared to the control group, FTS could significantly reduce the incidence of respiratory system infection (3.52% vs 5.28%) (RR: 0.68, 95% CI 0.52 to 0.87, I2=20.7%); urinary system infection (2.22% vs 6.98%) (RR:0.33, 95% CI 0.21 to 0.52, I2=0.0%); VTE (1.13% vs 3.24%) (RR:0.40, 95% CI 0.29 to 0.56, I2=0.0%) ; pressure sore (2.50% vs 4.02%) (RR:0.63, 95% CI 0.47 to 0.86, I2=13.5%) ; incision infection (2.08% vs 4.66%) (RR:0.47, 95% CI 0.23 to 0.95, I2=0.0%); constipation (3.33% vs 7.75%) (RR:0.43, 95% CI 0.20 to 0.93, I2=0.0%) and prosthesis dislocation (0.65% vs 3.04%) (RR:0.31, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.84, I2=0.0%) as shown in Figs. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16.

Publication bias and sensitivity analysis

The funnel plot showed that there was bias among retrieved articles as shown in Supply Fig. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13.

Fig. 11
figure11

Incidence of urinary tract infection between the experimental group and the control group. RR risk ratio

Fig. 12
figure12

Incidence of VTE between the experimental group and the control group. RR risk ratio, VTE venous thrombus embolism

Fig. 13
figure13

Incidence of pressure sores between the experimental group and the control group. RR risk ratio

Fig. 14
figure14

Incidence of incision infection between the experimental group and the control group. RR risk ratio

Fig. 15
figure15

Incidence of constipation between the experimental group and the control group. RR risk ratio

Fig. 16
figure16

Incidence of dislocation of prosthesis between the experimental group and the control group. RR risk ratio

Discussion

Fast track surgery (FTS), also named as enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS), improved or reselected partially perioperative steps of traditional hip arthroplasty in order to reduce the direct surgical injury, surgical stress response, and operation-related complication and achieve the purpose of promoting the rapid rehabilitation of patients, which could shorten the length of stay and reduce the cost of hospitalization [78,79,80]. The ultimate objective of FTS is to achieve “painless and risk-free surgery,” which has attracted worldwide attention [81].

Kehlet published an article to describe “fast-track surgery” (also known as enhanced recovery after surgery, ERAS) in 2001 first. The ERAS society, a non-profit and multidisciplinary medical association, was founded later that same year, aimed to help worldwide to carry through ERAS Social Guidelines systematically, and it has remained a challenge to monitor patient compliance and follow-up the rehabilitation outcomes [82]. The UK’s National Hip Fracture Database (NHFD), which collected information about fractured neck of femur, was established in 2007 and the most recent report supported early rehabilitation exercise [83]. NHFD has been focus on orthogeriatric assessment recently, an assessment before operation similar to the ERAS principles [84].

Nowadays, preoperative management of diabetes and anemia, personalized risk assessment, path sharing between enhanced recovery and hospitals, individualized pain management, multimodal anesthesia strategies, and the great differences in nursing in different area and so on still have room for improvement, which limited the promotion of FTS in worldwide [85]. Meanwhile, the research on ERAS has gradually shifted from standard indicators such as mortality, morbidity, and readmission rate to patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs).

The results we got consist with Husted et al.’s [86] (a prospective study), Larsson et al.’s [13] (a retrospective pilot study), and Bao et al.’s ( a meta-analysis), which suggested that patients could leave bed, recover the function of hip joint faster, suffer less pain, and reduce the incidence of postoperative complications, which could achieve the purpose of leaving hospital as soon as possible in addition after FTS. The novel nursing care delivery system also has a better satisfaction. However, the focus of their RCTs was to shorten the preparation time and nursing time, which means the results they come to may be influenced by shorter waiting times for surgery and cannot be attributed solely to the improvement of the chains of nursing. Bao et al. included a portion of studies with a lower quality, which might be measurement bias and selective bias, besides, the meta-analysis only analyzed the perioperative pain management of FTS [87]. Pollmann et al. [88] suggested that although the introduction of fast-track care for hip fractures significantly reduced length of stay, duration of surgery and risk of reoperation within 30 days, there was no significant different in 30-day, 90-day, or 1-year mortality rates. The data of the study were obtained retrospectively from electronic hospital records so that we could not identified that whether the patients follow the nursing protocol strictly. About half of the data on the admission are unclear, the others were admitted through fast-track admission pathway, which may have an influence on the outcome of mortality. The study by Amlie et al. reported that compared with the standard THA patients, patients with FTS regimen had an increased risk of postoperative revision surgery due to deep infection [89]. Therefore, there is still a controversial about whether FTS is effective and safe enough in the perioperative period for elderly patients with hip fracture.

At the time of assessment of the primary end point, a subgroup analysis was performed based on follow-up time. Subgroup analysis is performed only if each subgroup has more than two experimental comparisons. The result of follow-up time subgroup showed that patients’ Harris hip joint function score 6 months after surgery in the experimental group was significantly higher than that in control group, though the not applicable group is the highest. It could be concluded that FTS improves the long-term functional recovery of patients after hip replacement. The VAS in experimental group was significantly less than that in the control group 1 month after surgery.

As the primary endpoint, we evaluated was highly heterogeneous, and we did sensitivity analyses to decompose it. The results showed that after excluding Jia et al.’s article [59], and the overall effect of LOS has been affected significantly. We speculated that that the control group in research also offer a guidance of fracture functional exercise postoperative. There is also a great deal of influence of the overall effect of respiratory, VTE, and pressure sores after excluding Borges et al.’s article [72]. However, the RCT focused on accelerated surgical treatment (within 6 h), so that the waiting time for surgery is shorter than that of other patients, which may lead to heterogeneity.

The potential clinical implications of this meta-analysis are as follows: (1) 57 RCTs were retrieved which included a large sample size of 8886 participants compared to previous studies. (2) Subgroup analyses were performed according to the follow-up period to explain the influence of different factors on the overall effect. (3) We evaluated 12 indicators, including length of stay (LOS), Harris hip joint function score, VAS, satisfaction, the leaving bed time, respiratory system infection, urinary system infection, VTE, pressure sore, incision infection, constipation, and prosthesis dislocation, which were more comprehensive than previous articles.

The limitations of this study are as follows: (1) Most of the elderly patients with hip fractures were associated with risk factors (such as elder age, smoking), other complications (such as diabetes, hypertension), or some drug use history, which were adverse to incision healing. The influence of these baseline factors was not excluded and may lead to mixed bias. (2) We use the outcomes from reported events retrieved to integrate the results of this meta-analysis, so it is difficult to assess the impact of these baseline characteristics on the result. (3) Due to the limitations of the included study, this study was unable to explore the interaction between subgroup analyses. (4) The detail of the intervention measures in the control group (or standard track group) was not acceptable in most articles. (5) Only 3 of the retrieved articles were published in English journals and 54 in Chinese journals. Therefore, we have correctly attempt to address this problem by assessing the quality of the studies retrieved and rating most of them B.

This meta-analysis reveals that FTS could significantly shorten the LOS and reduce VAS, the leaving bed time, and the hospitalization costs and improve hip function. The incidence of complications (such as respiratory system infection, urinary system infection, VTE, pressure sore, incision infection, constipation, and prosthesis dislocation) also has been decreased significantly. Meanwhile, FTS improved patients’ satisfaction apparently. Its efficacy and safety were proved to be reliable.

Due to individual differences of every patient, the fast track should be adjusted clinically so that patients with special needs or high co-morbidity burden should be transferred to a safe and effective FTS [84]. A people-oriented approach is an important factor in optimizing care from surgical decisions to rehabilitation [85].

In the future, the perioperative strategy of rapid rehabilitation surgery in total hip replacement will need to extract more large samples of high quality for evidence-based analysis under a more perfect unified standard, so as to conduct more safe and effective multidisciplinary cooperation.

Availability of data and materials

None.

Abbreviations

RCT:

Randomized controlled trials

RR:

Risk ratios

SMD:

Standard mean difference

CI:

Confidence intervals

HA:

Hip arthroplasty

FTS:

Fast track surgery

ERAS:

Enhanced recovery after surgery

LOS:

Length of stay

VAS:

Visual analog scale

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the Guangxi Medical University.

Funding

Guangxi Natural Science Foundation (2017GXNSFAA198352).

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Authors

Contributions

J.M. designed the study; J.M. and L.S pooled the data; J.M. analyzed the data; J.M., L.S., D.H., and L.X. wrote the article; and B.Z. reviewed the article. The authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Zhandong Bo.

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All authors agree to publish the paper.

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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Supplementary Information

Additional file 1: Supply Figure 1.

Comparison of LOS between the experimental group and the control group. (funnel plot). SMD= standardized mean difference.

Additional file 2: Supply Figure 2.

Comparison of Harris hip joint function score between the experimental group and the control group. (funnel plot). SMD= standardized mean difference.

Additional file 3: Supply Figure 3.

Comparison of VAS between the experimental group and the control group. (funnel plot). SMD= standardized mean difference.

Additional file 4: Supply Figure 4.

Comparison of satisfaction between the experimental group and the control group. (funnel plot). RR= Risk Ratio.

Additional file 5: Supply Figure 5.

Comparison of the leaving bed time between the experimental group and the control group. (funnel plot). SMD= standardized mean difference.

Additional file 6: Supply Figure 6.

Comparison of cost between the experimental group and the control group. (funnel plot). SMD= standardized mean difference.

Additional file 7: Supply Figure 7.

Incidence of respiratory infection between the experimental group and the control group. (funnel plot). RR= Risk Ratio.

Additional file 8: Supply Figure 8.

Incidence of urinary tract infection between the experimental group and the control group. (funnel plot). RR= Risk Ratio.

Additional file 9: Supply Figure 9.

Incidence of VTE between the experimental group and the control group. (funnel plot). RR= Risk Ratio; VTE= venous thrombus embolism.

Additional file 10: Supply Figure 10.

Incidence of pressure sores between the experimental group and the control group. (funnel plot). RR= Risk Ratio.

Additional file 11: Supply Figure 11.

Incidence of incision infection between the experimental group and the control group. (funnel plot). RR= Risk Ratio.

Additional file 12: Supply Figure 12.

Incidence of constipation between the experimental group and the control group. (funnel plot). RR= Risk Ratio.

Additional file 13: Supply Figure 13.

Incidence of dislocation of prosthesis between the experimental group and the control group. (funnel plot). RR= Risk Ratio.

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Jiang, M., Liu, S., Deng, H. et al. The efficacy and safety of fast track surgery (FTS) in patients after hip fracture surgery: a meta-analysis. J Orthop Surg Res 16, 162 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13018-021-02277-w

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Keywords

  • Fast track surgery (FTS)
  • Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS)
  • Hip replacement
  • Meta-analysis
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