New project to speed up recovery for pancreatic patients

A new recovery programme developed at UHS is helping patients recover much more quickly after surgery to remove pancreatic tumours.

Developed by Mohammed Abu Hilal, a consultant hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgeon, the enhanced recovery programme for pancreaticoduodenectomy is the first of its kind in the UK.

The programme is led at ward level by Hannah Clarke, HPB nurse practitioner, in conjunction with the multi-disciplinary team.

Around 100 patients from across the region undergo the procedure, which is used to remove malignant and benign tumours in the pancreas, every year.

During a pilot study at Southampton General Hospital, patients on the enhanced recovery programme recovered gut function much earlier than those on traditional management, while their length of stay in hospital was cut by 40%.

Mr Hilal and his team also found the programme led to a reduction in complications such as chest infections and intestinal bleeding and no increase in readmission rates.

The results have been presented in the enhanced recovery summit in London and received the commended award.  

“This approach to recovery has already been successful in other specialties, such as colorectal surgery, and this encouraged us to try something similar,” said Mr Abu Hilal.

“The results we have seen so far are extremely promising – less complications after surgery, quicker return to fitness, shorter hospital stay – and we hope to see this continue as we develop the programme further.”

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