Restrictive strategy of intra-operative fluid maintenance decreases major complications after high-risk surgery

Patient Population
High-risk general surgery.

LiDCO Monitor
LiDCOrapid fluid optimisation & oxygen delivery (DO2) GDT target.

Trial Design
Randomised GDT with fluid restriction vs GDT with liberal maintenance fluids.

Outcome Impact
Allowed GDT DO2 targeting while restricting maintenance fluids; reducing expected complications rate from 61.5% to 20%.

Optimal fluid management is crucial for patients who undergo major and prolonged surgery. Persistent hypovolemia is associated with complications, but fluid overload is also harmful. We evaluated the effects of a restrictive versus conventional strategy of crystalloid administration during goal-directed therapy in high-risk surgical patients.

We conducted a prospective, randomized, controlled study of high-risk patients undergoing major surgery. For fluid maintenance during surgery, the restrictive group received 4 ml/kg/hour and the conventional group received 12 ml/kg/hour of Ringer’s lactate solution. A minimally invasive technique (the LiDCO monitoring system) was used to continuously monitor stroke volume and oxygen delivery index (DO2I) in both groups. Dobutamine was administered as necessary, and fluid challenges were used to test fluid responsiveness to achieve the best possible DO2I during surgery and for 8 hours postoperatively.

Eighty-eight patients were included. The patients’ median age was 69 years. The conventional treatment group received a significantly greater amount of lactated Ringer’s solution (mean ± standard deviation (SD): 4, 335 ± 1, 546 ml) than the restrictive group (mean ± SD: 2, 301 ± 1, 064 ml) (P < 0.001). Temporal patterns of DO2I were similar between the two groups. The restrictive group had a 52% lower rate of major postoperative complications than the conventional group (20.0% vs 41.9%, relative risk = 0.48, 95% confidence interval = 0.24 to 0.94; P = 0.046).

A restrictive strategy of fluid maintenance during optimization of oxygen delivery reduces major complications in older patients with coexistent pathologies who undergo major surgery.