BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Same-day surgery is common for foot surgery. Continuous regional anesthesia for outpatients has been shown effective but the economic impact on the perioperative process-related healthcare costs remains unclear.
METHODS: One hundred twenty consecutive patients were included in this assessor-blinded, prospective cohort study and allocated according to inclusion criteria in the day-care or in the in-patient group. Standardized continuous popliteal sciatic nerve block was performed in both groups for 48 h using an elastomeric pump delivering ropivacaine 0.2 % at a rate of 5 ml/h with an additional 5 ml bolus every 60 min. Outpatients were discharged the day of surgery and followed with standardized telephone interviews. The total direct health costs of both groups were compared. Moreover, the difference in treatment costs and the difference in terms of quality of care and effectiveness between the groups were compared.
RESULTS: Total management costs were significantly reduced in the day-care group. There was no difference between the groups regarding pain at rest and with motion, persistent pain after catheter removal and the incidence of PONV. Persistent motor block and catheter inflammation/infection were comparable in both groups. There was neither a difference in the number of unscheduled ambulatory visits nor in the number of readmissions.
CONCLUSIONS: Day-care continuous regional analgesia leads to an overall positive impact on costs by decreasing the incidence of unplanned ambulatory visits and unscheduled readmissions, without compromising on the quality of analgesia, patients' satisfaction, and safety.