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Department of Plastic Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Abstract:   (95 Views)
BACKGROUND
            As free tissue transfer outcomes improve, institutions are examining early discharge protocols. “Early” is generally defined as between one and five days postoperatively, which correlates with the timing of most major complications and most opportunities for flap salvage. Given the trend towards early discharge, the need for healthcare cost reductions and shortage of ICU beds during a viral pandemic, we aimed to propose an evidence-based protocol to select patients for discharge within 72 h of free tissue transfer.
METHODS
            A retrospective review of all patients who underwent free tissue transfer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Tennessee, USA since the onset of the COVID-19 (2020-2021) pandemic was performed. Patients were included for review if they were discharged within 72 h of surgery. Literature relating to expedited discharge after free tissue transfer was also reviewed.
RESULTS
Six patients met inclusion criteria for retrospective review. None suffered intraoperative or postoperative inpatient complications and all were discharged within 72 h postoperatively. There were no flap failures within 30 d of reconstruction.
CONCLUSION
This study reviews a patient cohort undergoing free tissue transfer during the COVID-19 pandemic. These cases were reviewed for factors that may have contributed to their postoperative success after discharge within 72 hours. These data points were combined with published evidence on risks for failure after free flap reconstruction to design a protocol to select patients for early discharge. The benefits of early discharge include reducing healthcare costs, risks of inpatient hospitalization, and ICU utilization, which is of paramount importance in the midst of a global pandemic.
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Type of Study: Original Article | Subject: Special
Received: 2021/11/24 | Accepted: 2021/10/26

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