Clinical pathways—a standard of practice for the care of a certain population of patients—have been used to improve patients’ care and use of resources, resulting in cost containment. In this article, the authors describe a clinical pathway for cardiac surgery patients, review protocols used together with this pathway, and present 2 case studies.

Institutions are looking for ways to improve patients’ care and the utilization of resources, with the ultimate goal of cost containment. Clinical pathways have been used to meet this goal.1–,9 We describe a clinical pathway developed for patients undergoing cardiac surgery for valve repair or replacement. In addition, we review protocols and standing order sets used in conjunction with this pathway and present case studies of 2 patients who were managed according to the pathway.

A clinical pathway provides a standard of practice...

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