Following abdominal surgery, many hospitals use enhanced recovery or “fast-track” pathways that allow patients to start drinking once awake from anesthesia on the same day of surgery. However, one in every four patients is unable to tolerate feeding because of delayed recovery of bowel function, a condition called postoperative ileus (POI). When present, POI prolongs hospital length of stay by an average of 30% and generates annual costs exceeding $1.75 billion.
Monitoring for POI is typically limited to incidental interactions with the physicians and nurses, which occur only intermittently throughout the day. Assessments typically rely on observation, physical examination, and use of a stethoscope to monitor bowel sounds as a measure of intestinal motility. However, stethoscopes are generally unhelpful because bowel sounds are only measured for short periods, are captured in an non-standardized manner and are analyzed using gestalt rather than objective parameters.
There are 55 million operations in the U.S. annually requiring anesthesia that can slow bowel function. Of these, 10 million operations have a high risk of slowing bowel function and 4.5 million – typically abdominal, pelvic, and urological operations – have the highest risk for slowing bowel function and POI. By providing the confidence to feed these post-operative patients early and aggressively, AbStats-guided feeding is expected to reduce average length of stay by at least one day per patient based on meta-analysis of aggressive versus standard feeding protocols.
Based on conservative models, using AbStats AGIS sensors to monitor abdominal surgery patients and shorten their length of stay could save U.S. hospitals a cumulative $2.7 billion annually. Shortening the length of stay also results in pull-through of one additional patient at the facility for every six patients wearing an AbStats sensor, potentially resulting in hospitals being able to service 750,000 more patients a year.
The estimated institutional savings resulting from an improved post-operative feeding regimen are impressive, but do not factor in other key benefits of AbStats. Early feeding can improve patient outcomes by accelerating healing, reducing the risk of infection and lowering 30-day readmission rates. The portability and ease of use of AbStats can also help improve outpatient care by monitoring and diagnosing gastrointestinal problems in an ambulatory or home care environment.