ENhanced Recovery in CHildren Undergoing Surgery (ENRICH-US)

  • End date
    Aug 31, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Northwestern University
Updated on 12 May 2022
abdominal surgery
ulcerative colitis
inflammatory bowel disease
crohn's disease
intestinal diseases
Accepts healthy volunteers


The institution of perioperative Enhanced Recovery Protocols (ERPs) has been found to decrease hospital length of stay, in-hospital costs, and complications among adult surgical populations but data in pediatric populations are lacking. The Assessing Effectiveness and Implementation of a Perioperative Enhanced Recovery Protocol for Children Undergoing Gastrointestinal Surgery, which has the short title "ENhanced Recovery In CHildren Undergoing Surgery (ENRICH-US)," study is a multicenter, pragmatic, prospective study, using a stepped wedge cluster randomized controlled trial design. The study is designed to test the adoption, effectiveness, and generalizability of a newly developed, 21-element ERP for children undergoing elective gastrointestinal surgery.


The purpose of this study is to learn more about the clinical effectiveness and to examine obstacles to implementing a Perioperative Enhanced Recovery Protocol (ERP) in pediatric surgery. ERPs are evidence-based interventions that have been developed among adult surgical populations, but implementation of ERPs and data in pediatric populations are lacking. To address this need, we have designed a multicenter, prospective study entitled ENhanced Recovery In CHildren Undergoing Surgery (ENRICH-US). This study is designed to test the adoption, effectiveness, and generalizability of a pediatric specific 21-element ERP intervention for children recovering from surgery compared with usual care. All other peri-operative care in this study will not be modified from usual care pathways, including medications.

The basic elements of the ENRICH-US intervention are very similar to the elements of most adult ERPs and include perioperative counseling and education, mindfulness training, maintenance of euvolumia through limited perioperative fasting and limited intraoperative fluid resuscitation, early enteral intake, early mobilization, limited opioid use, and non-routine use of surgical drains and tubes. Elements span the preadmission and pre-, intra-, and post-operative phases of care. The concurrent use of these integrative healthcare interventions results in a markedly improved patient care experience that minimizes the physiologic stress of surgery and hastens recovery. These ERPs have been found to decrease hospital length of stay, in-hospital costs, complications, and help patients recover sooner after surgery. Though each ERP element is independently simple, implementation of the combined elements likely will require substantial redesign of the systems and processes of care to assure a high level of coordination among surgery, anesthesia, and nursing clinicians.

This prospective study involves multiple sites and uses a stepped-wedge, cluster-randomized, controlled study design of the ENRICH protocol in pediatric patients undergoing elective GI surgery. The cluster-randomized trial design is ideally suited for pragmatic intervention implementation. A hybrid, type 2 study design will be used with equal focus on evaluating the effectiveness and the implementation. The study will optimize implementation using the National Implementation Research Network's five Active Implementation Frameworks (AIFs), which identify competency, organization, and leadership as drivers of implementation and empower team collaboration and facilitate rapid-cycle evaluation. The five AIFs used as key tools to achieve high-fidelity and sustainable implementation will include patient-stakeholder input in all steps of the improvement process and a Learning Collaborative (LC) with rapid-cycle data feedback.

The study, by taking place in the setting where patients receive usual clinical care by usual clinicians, using data primarily from existing data sources (e.g., EHR), having minimal eligibility criteria, and recruiting all eligible pediatric patients undergoing GI surgery delivery, fulfills most of the pragmatic qualities to understand the real-world performance and implications of the intervention. The nature of this trial does not allow for subjects (patients or clinicians) to be blinded.

The study will enroll patients at 18 US hospitals ("sites") that participate in the Pediatric Surgery Research Collaborative (PedSRC), a cooperative group of pediatric surgeons and researchers committed to performing clinical research in pediatric surgery. All sites offer comprehensive, inpatient, pediatric services, including surgical services. The PedSRC represents one of the largest pediatric surgical networks for collaboration and research.

The 18 sites will be randomly assigned to one of three clusters for the stepped wedge design with each cluster, in turn, being randomly assigned to an intervention start period. Given that many sites have already initiated some ERP elements, a study design that randomizes sites or patients to a control arm without any ERP elements is not feasible. The stepped-wedge design was selected, in part, to ease the practical challenges of concurrently coordinating training and data collection across the 18 sites.

The ENRICH-US study provides a unique opportunity to accelerate, yet evaluate the adoption of ERP elements for pediatric GI patients, thus improving surgical care for this high-risk population by rapidly incorporating ERPs into practice, using the five AIFs. This study will serve as a model for future pediatric surgical quality improvement implementation efforts.

Condition Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis
Treatment Perioperative surgical care
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04060303
SponsorNorthwestern University
Last Modified on12 May 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Pediatric patients ages 10-18
Undergoing elective (non-emergency) gastrointestinal/colorectal surgical procedures

Exclusion Criteria

Children undergoing emergent/urgent gastrointestinal/colorectal surgical procedures
Patients/families who cannot read and write English or Spanish
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