Journal List > J Korean Gastric Cancer Assoc > v.5(2) > 1037018

Song, Kim, and Park: Critical Pathway for Operable Gastric Cancer



Critical pathways (CP), also known as clinical pathways, are management plans that display goals for patients and have led to improved outcomes for many disease entities. This study was aimed at developing a critical pathway for the surgical treatment of gastric cancer patients and evaluating its usefulness.

Materials and Methods

A CP was developed and implemented by a team of surgeons, nurses, nutritionists, and administrative officials. Among the 117 patients who received curative gastrectomies for gastric cancer at Kangnam St. Mary's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, between October 2003 and August 2004, 26 patients were treated according to the CP. We evaluated its usefulness by comparing the clinical characterisctics, postoperative progress, hospital stays, and costs between the CP and the non-CP groups. Patient satisfaction was also surveyed with questionnaires.


Of the initial 26 patients in the CP group, two were excluded from the final evaluation; one patient had a duodenal stump leakage, and the other had a gastric stasis postoperatively. In 8 patients, protocol violation occurred; six patients refused to be discharged on the 7th postoperative day, one patient who had an gastric staisis postoperatively stayed for 2 additional days, and one patient who needed ICU care stayed for 4 additional days. The drop-out rate was 7.7% (2/26), and the variance rate was 30.8% (8/26). The mean hospital stay was 11.3 days (10~15 days) for the CP group compared with 17.5 days (9~68 days) for the non-CP group, resulting in a difference of about 6 days (P<0.05). The mean hospital stays after surgery were 10.3 days (7~68 days) and 8.3 days (7~12 days) for the non-CP and the CP groups, respectively, but the difference was statistically not significant (P>0.05). The mean charge during the hospital stay was higher in the non-CP group (W6,292,200) than in the CP group (W4,863,685). The charge per hospital day was higher in the CP group (W430,414) than in the non-CP group (W359,554). Patient satisfaction was higher in the CP group than in the non-CP group.


By developing and applying a critical pathway in the surgical treatment of stomach cancer patients, we could reduce the length of hospital stay as well as the cost. A multi-centered prospective study to establish a standard treatment pathway and to demonstrate its effectiveness is needed in the future.

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