Fluid therapy in the perioperative setting—a clinical review

Journal of Intensive Care. 2016;4:27. 

Presented by Dr. M. Creed

Background

  • Perioperative hypovolemia and fluid overload have effects on both complications following surgery and on patient survival.
  • Therefore, the administration of intravenous fluids before, during, and after surgery at the right time and in the right amounts is of great importance.
  • This review analyzes the literature concerning perioperative fluid therapy in abdominal surgery and provides evidence-based recommendations for clinical practice.

Design & Setting

  • Clinical Review Article

Results

  • Preoperative oral or intravenous administration of carbohydrate containing fluids has been shown to improve postoperative well-being and muscular strength and to reduce insulin resistance. Hence, the intake of fluid (preferably containing carbohydrates) should be encouraged up to 2 h prior to surgery in order to avoid dehydration.
  • Excessive intravenous fluid administration adds to tissue inflammation and edema formation, thereby compromising tissue healing.
  • During major abdominal surgery a “zero-balance” intraoperative fluid strategy aims at avoiding fluid overload (and comparable to the so-called restrictive approach) as well as goal-directed fluid therapy (GDT). Both proved to significantly reduce postoperative complications when compared to “standard fluid therapy”.
  • Trials comparing “restrictive” or zero-balance and GDT have shown equal results, as long as fluid overload is avoided in the GDT group as well (categorized as “zero-balance GDT”).
  • It is possible that high-risk surgical patients, such as those undergoing acute surgery, may benefit from the continuous monitoring of circulatory status that the GDT provides. Data on this group of patients is not available at present, but trials are ongoing.

Conclusions

  • In elective surgery, the zero-balance approach has shown to reduce postoperative complications and is easily applied for most patients.
  • It is less expensive and simpler than the zero-balance GDT approach and therefore recommended in this review.
  • In outpatient surgery, 1–2 litres of balanced crystalloids reduces postoperative nausea and vomiting and improves well-being.

Strengths

  • Good review of literature, assessing/referencing 71 papers.
  • Data well presented for comparison between trials (Tables 1, 2) and also including data from selected meta-analysis (Fig 1).

Weaknesses

  • An overview of a very broad subject, therefore wide ranging.
  • Review not conducted as a Systematic review and no description of search methodology in arriving at source articles.
  • No meta-analysis of reviewed data other than that taken from other articles.

Potential for impact

  • Provides focus to reflect on perioperative fluid management.
  • May provide opportunity to alter individual practice to reflect current evidence base.