St. Luke's University Health Network


    • Innovative Protocol Improves Patient Care

Innovative Protocol Improves Patient Care

Innovative Bariatric Surgery Protocol at St. Luke’s improves patient care

Maher El Chaar, MD

Bethlehem (5/27/2011) - An innovative approach to managing bariatric surgery patients called Fast Track Bariatric Surgery (FTBS) has been adopted at St. Luke’s Hospital - Allentown Campus. The results – an even shorter length of stay and reduced complication and readmission rates compared to other Bariatric Surgery Centers across the country.

With this new approach, bariatric surgery patients undergo a standardized pre-operative and post-operative protocol. “We have performed this approach on 229 patients so far and our results are astonishing,” says bariatric surgeon Maher El Chaar, MD, Co-medical Director, St. Luke’s Bariatric Surgery Program. 

Among this initial group of patients, 158 underwent a laparoscopic gastric bypass and 71 underwent a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. “No NGT, foley catheters or drains were used on any of our patients,” says Dr. El Chaar. “Our results using FTBS showed that not only is the hospital stay significantly shorter, but also patient safety and outcomes improved significantly compared to other bariatric centers of excellence in the nation.”

The average hospital length-of-stay following FTBS at St. Luke’s was 32 hours (1.3 days) compared to three to five days in other centers.  The 30-day complication rate was 2.6 percent compared to a national rate of 4.3 percent based on the most recent analysis by the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery (LABS) consortium that reviewed almost 4,700 patients in 10 different clinical sites in the United States. The 30-day readmission rate was also significantly lower at St. Luke’s than at other centers – three percent versus six to eight percent.

“Using FTBS, we were able to discharge our patients faster and improve the outcome of surgery,” says Dr. El Chaar.  “Our results will be presented at the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) in Orlando, Florida and were also submitted for publication in SOARD, the official journal of ASMBS.”

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