Patients undergoing surgery for lung cancer may benefit from an enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) program, according to a recent report published in the journal Thoracic Cancer.

In their report, the authors described ERAS as a “multiprofessional, multidisciplinary, and evidence-based approach that aims to lessen surgical stress response, reduce complications, lower medical costs, and promote patient recovery through optimizing a series of perioperative management measures.” The authors were a research team from the Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital in Tianjin, China.

The ERAS program was established based on the needs of geriatric patients requiring surgery for lung cancer and involves a checklist for nurses as a guide to implementing the program at their own facilities.

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The checklist is divided into sections based primarily on timing in relation to surgery, and involves protocols for health education and counseling, the preoperative phase, preoperative preparation, the intraoperative phase, and multiple timepoints throughout the postoperative phase. 

The ERAS health education and counseling portion includes addressing beliefs patients may have regarding the importance of bed rest following surgery; the ERAS guidelines stress being active and eating earlier than patients may expect. Included in health education and counseling is an enhanced recovery plan for the patient and information about protocols involved in the surgery and recovery.

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During preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative phases, the ERAS program is designed to guide nurses in recording relevant information and implementing several protocols, including training a patient in breathing techniques and nursing care essentials throughout and following the procedure.

The authors concluded that using their suggested ERAS program with geriatric patients may help support positive outcomes after lung surgery.


Li Y, Yan C, Li J, et al. A nurse-driven enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) nursing program for geriatric patients following lung surgery [published online March 2, 2020]. Thorac Cancer. doi: 10.1111/1759-7714.13372