A randomised controlled trial of fluid restriction compared to oesophageal Doppler-guided goal-directed fluid therapy in elective major colorectal surgery within an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery program

T D Phan, B D'Souza, M J Rattray, M J Johnston, B S Cowie
Anaesthesia and Intensive Care 2014, 42 (6): 752-60
There is continued controversy regarding the benefits of goal-directed fluid therapy, with earlier studies showing marked improvement in morbidity and length-of-stay that have not been replicated more recently. The aim of this study was to compare patient outcomes in elective colorectal surgery patients having goal-directed versus restrictive fluid therapy. Inclusion criteria included suitability for an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery care pathway and patients with an American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status score of 1 to 3. Patients were intraoperatively randomised to either restrictive or Doppler-guided goal-directed fluid therapy. The primary outcome was length-of-stay; secondary outcomes included complication rate, change in haemodynamic variables and fluid volumes. Compared to restrictive therapy, goal-directed therapy resulted in a greater volume of intraoperative fluid, 2115 (interquartile range 1350 to 2560) ml versus 1500 (1200 to 2000) ml, P=0.008, and was associated with an increase in Doppler-derived stroke volume index from beginning to end of surgery, 43.7 (16.3) to 54.2 (21.1) ml/m(2), P <0.001, in the latter group. Length-of-stay was similar, 6.5 (5 to 9) versus 6 (4 to 9) days, P=0.421. The number of patients with any complication (minor or major) was similar; 0% (30) versus 52% (26), P=0.42, or major complications, 1 (2%) versus 4 (8%), P=0.36, respectively. The increased perioperative fluid volumes and increased stroke volumes at the end of surgery in patients receiving goal-directed therapy did not translate to a significant difference in length-of-stay and we did not observe a difference in the number of patients experiencing minor or major complications.

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