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Preoperative oral carbohydrate nutrition: an update

Nygren, Jonas; Thorell, Anders; Ljungqvist, Olle

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: July 2001 - Volume 4 - Issue 4 - p 255-259
Review Article

Insulin resistance is a central feature of the metabolic response after elective surgery as well as other trauma, and has been shown to be a predictor of the length of stay after surgery. Carbohydrate treatment instead of overnight fasting before surgery has been shown to reduce postoperative insulin resistance and to reduce hospital stay approximately 20% after elective surgery. For potential use as a clinical routine before surgery, a carbohydrate-rich drink was developed. Gastric emptying of a 50 g oral carbohydrate load using this drink is complete within 90 min after intake. Oral carbohydrate loading before surgery has confirmed previous data, using glucose and insulin infusions, that postoperative insulin resistance is reduced compared with overnight fasted patients before surgery, and this is associated with improved well-being before and after surgery.

Centre of Gastrointestinal Disease, Karolinska Institutet at Ersta Hospital and Huddinge University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden

Correspondence to Olle Ljungqvist, MD, PhD, Centre of Gastrointestinal Disease, Ersta Hospital, PO Box 4622, SE-116 91 Stockholm, Sweden. Tel: +46 8 714 6100; fax: +46 8 714 6665; e-mail:

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.