Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were eligible for inclusion.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies that evaluated fast-track treatments were eligible for inclusion. The aspects of fast-track treatment addressed in the review were anaesthetic dose, temperature management and tracheal extubation protocol. Interventions were categorised by:
the type and dose of anaesthetics (high dose: >15 microg/kg fentanyl, >3 microg/kg sufentanil and >60 microg/kg alfentanil; low dose: <15 microg/kg fentanyl, <2 to 3 microg/kg sufentanil, <60 microg/kg alfentanil and remifentanil),
temperature management during cardiopulmonary bypass (normothermia or hypothermia, defined as above or below 35 degrees C, respectively), and
extubation protocol (the intention to extubate within or after 8 hours following surgery).
Participants included in the review
Studies in low-risk adults (at least 18 years old) who had undergone CABG were eligible for inclusion. Studies were excluded if the sample population comprised mainly non-CABG patients or patients at high risk of post-operative complications. High risk was defined in the report. The characteristics of the patients in the included studies were not reported.
Outcomes assessed in the review
The main outcome of interest was ICU stay (in hours). Other outcomes included in the review were hospital stay (in days), myocardial infarction (MI) as defined in the report, death and quality of life. The quality of life dimensions reported in the included studies were mostly pain and cognitive function.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
Two of the authors discussed the eligibility of the studies.