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Surg Today. 2014 Nov;44(11):2052-7. doi: 10.1007/s00595-013-0794-z. Epub 2013 Nov 23.

A close look at postoperative fluid management and electrolyte disorders after gastrointestinal surgery in a teaching hospital where patients are treated according to the ERAS protocol.

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Department of Surgery, Amphia Hospital, PO Box 90158, 4800, RK Breda, The Netherlands,



To evaluate the routine postoperative fluid management in relation to the British Consensus Guidelines on Intravenous Fluid Therapy for Adult Surgical Patients 2008 by the assessment of the fluid overload and electrolyte disorders in patients who were postoperatively treated according to an 'enhanced recovery after surgery' (ERAS) protocol.


All liver, pancreatic and gastrointestinal surgical patients treated during a 10-week period were consecutively included in this analysis. All patients were treated according to a fast track protocol. Fluid balance charts and electrolyte disorders were recorded. Electrolyte disorders were reported based on the laboratory results.


A total of 71 patients with an uncomplicated postoperative course were analysed. Even with restrictive fluid management performed as part of the ERAS protocol, hypervolemia developed in 54 % of all patients on the first postoperative day. There were no cases of excessive peripheral or pulmonary oedema in cases with excessive fluid administration. Twenty-six percent of the patients had electrolyte imbalances, euvolaemia was seen in 22 %, and 85 % of these patients had hypokalemia.


Postoperative registration of fluid charts is difficult, which results in incomplete charts. This has resulted in more attention being paid to recording the fluid balance at our institution. Concerning electrolyte disorders, we recommend prophylactic potassium administration. However, there is no reason to replace standard 0.9 % NaCl/glucose 5 % by Ringer's lactate, as the British guidelines advice.

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