Potential association between perioperative fluid management and occurrence of postoperative ileus

Fabian Grass, Jenna K. Lovely, Jacopo Crippa, Martin Hübner, Kellie L. Mathis, David W. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Postoperative ileus remains an issue after colorectal surgery delaying recovery and increasing the length of hospital stay and costs. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to analyze the impact of perioperative fluid management on ileus occurrence after colorectal surgery within a fully implemented enhanced recovery pathway. DESIGN: This was a retrospective cohort study of a prospectively maintained institutional database. SETTINGS: The study was conducted at a tertiary academic facility with fully implemented standardized enhanced recovery pathway over the entire study period. PATIENTS: All of the consecutive elective major colorectal resections for benign or malign indications between 2011 and 2016 were included. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Postoperative ileus was defined as the need for nasogastric tube reinsertion. Perioperative fluid management and surgical outcome were compared between patients presenting with ileus and those without. Potential risk factors for ileus were identified through multinomial logistic regression. RESULTS: Postoperative ileus occurred in 377 (9%) of 4205 included patients at day 4 (interquartile range, 2-5 d). Intraoperatively, ileus patients received 3.2 ± 2.6 L of fluids, whereas the remaining patients received 2.5 ± 1.7 L (p < 0.001). Weight gain was 3.8 ± 7.1 kg in ileus patients versus 3.0 ± 6.6 kg (p = 0.272) in the remaining patients at postoperative day 1, 4.4 ± 6.5 kg versus 3.1 ± 7.0 kg (p = 0.028) at postoperative day 2, and 1.8 ± 6.0 kg versus 0.0 ± 6.0 kg at discharge (p = 0.002). The multivariable model including all significant (p < 0.05) demographic, fluid management-related, and surgical parameters retained postoperative day 0 fluids of >3 L (OR = 1.65 (95% CI, 1.13-2.41); p = 0.009), postoperative day 2 weight gain of >2.5 kg (OR = 1.49 (95% CI, 1.01-2.21); p = 0.048), and occurrence of postoperative complications (OR = 2.00 (95% CI, 1.39-2.90); p < 0.001) as independent risk factors for ileus. LIMITATIONS: This study was limited by its retrospective design. Fluid management depends on patient-, disease-, and surgery-related factors and cannot be generalized and extrapolated. CONCLUSIONS: Fluid overload and occurrence of postoperative complications were independent risk factors for postoperative ileus. This calls for action to keep perioperative fluids below suggested thresholds. See Video Abstract at http://links.lww.com/DCR/B54.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-74
Number of pages7
JournalDiseases of the colon and rectum
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Colorectal
  • Enhanced recovery
  • Fluids
  • Ileus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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