How the nation's 1st ERAS Cardiac Program transformed outcomes at WakeMed Health

Enhanced recovery after surgery programs have promoted patient safety and faster post-surgical recovery across specialties, but due to the complexities of heart and vascular care, such programs for cardiac care have been unsuccessful — until now.

North American Partners in Anesthesia worked with Raleigh, N.C.-based WakeMed Health to develop the nation's first ERAS cardiac program. In one year, the groundbreaking protocol has increased patient and surgeon satisfaction and saved the hospital nearly $2 million. Superior clinical outcomes achieved with the program also earned WakeMed Heart & Vascular the number one ranking in CMS' national outcomes listing for heart bypass surgery, and designation as the first U.S. ERAS Cardiac Center of Excellence.

This case study describes how NAPA's anesthesia leadership at WakeMed drove the clinical research, interdisciplinary collaboration, and education that inspired 100 percent participation by the medical staff and more.

Key learning points:

  • How WakeMed’s cardiac ERAS program reduced patients’ ICU and hospital length of stay, opioid use, GI complications, reintubation rates, and ICU readmission rates
  • How outstanding clinical outcomes increased patient and surgeon satisfaction, and produced operational efficiencies that contributed to better financial performance, including fewer patient-bed days, increased case volume, and an approximately $5 million reduction in cardiothoracic ICU insurance payments
  • How NAPA’s anesthesia-driven, value-based approach promotes safer patient care and a stronger hospital balance sheet.

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Cardiac ERAS case study illustration (2)