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Population-based Assessment of Intraoperative Fluid Administration Practices Across Three Surgical Specialties

Regenbogen, Scott E. MD, MPH*,‡,§; Shah, Nirav J. MD; Collins, Stacey D. MA§; Hendren, Samantha MD, MPH*,‡,§; Englesbe, Michael J. MD*,§; Campbell, Darrell A. Jr MD§

doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000001745
Original Articles

Objective: To assess the variation in hospitals’ approaches to intraoperative fluid management and their association with postoperative recovery.

Background: Despite increasing interest in goal-directed, restricted-volume fluid administration for major surgery, there remains little consensus on optimal strategies, due to the lack of institution-level studies of resuscitation practices.

Methods: Among 64 hospitals in a state-wide surgical collaborative, we profiled fluid administration practices during 8404 intestinal resections, 22,854 hysterectomies, and 1471 abdominopelvic endovascular procedures. We computed intraoperative fluid balance, accounting for patient morphometry, crystalloid, colloid, blood products, urine, blood loss, duration, and approach. We stratified hospitals by average fluid balance quartile, and compared patterns across disciplines and associations with risk-adjusted postoperative length of stay (pLOS).

Results: There was wide variation in fluid balance between hospitals (P < 0.001, all procedures), but significant within-hospital correlation across operations (Pearson rho: intestinal-hysterectomy = 0.50, intestinal-endovascular = 0.36, hysterectomy-endovascular = 0.54, all P < 0.05). Highest fluid balance hospitals had significantly longer adjusted pLOS than lowest balance hospitals for intestinal resection (6.5 vs 5.7 d, P < 0.001) and hysterectomy (1.9 vs 1.7 d, P < 0.001), but not endovascular (2.1 vs 2.3 d, P = 0.69). Risk-adjusted complication rates were not associated with fluid balance rankings.

Conclusions: Hospitals’ approaches to intraoperative fluid administration vary widely, and their practice patterns are pervasive across disparate procedures. High fluid balance hospitals have 12% to 14% longer risk-adjusted pLOS for visceral abdominal surgery, independent of patient complexity and complications. These findings are consistent with evidence that isovolemic resuscitation in enhanced recovery protocols accelerates recovery of bowel function.

*Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Department of Anesthesia, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

§Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative, Ann Arbor, MI.

Reprints: Scott E. Regenbogen, MD, MPH, 2800 Plymouth Road, Bldg. 16, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. E-mail:

Funding: Dr Regenbogen is supported by American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons Career Development Award CDG-015, National Institute on Aging Grants for Early Medical/Surgical Specialists Transition to Aging, R03-AG047860, and National Institute on Aging K08-AG047252.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

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