A pragmatic multi-centre randomised controlled trial of fluid loading in high-risk surgical patients undergoing major elective surgery--the FOCCUS study.
Cuthbertson BH., Campbell MK., Stott SA., Elders A., Hernández R., Boyers D., Norrie J., Kinsella J., Brittenden J., Cook J., Rae D., Cotton SC., Alcorn D., Addison J., Grant A., FOCCUS study group None.
INTRODUCTION: Fluid strategies may impact on patient outcomes in major elective surgery. We aimed to study the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of pre-operative fluid loading in high-risk surgical patients undergoing major elective surgery. METHODS: This was a pragmatic, non-blinded, multi-centre, randomised, controlled trial. We sought to recruit 128 consecutive high-risk surgical patients undergoing major abdominal surgery. The patients underwent pre-operative fluid loading with 25 ml/kg of Ringer's solution in the six hours before surgery. The control group had no pre-operative fluid loading. The primary outcome was the number of hospital days after surgery with cost-effectiveness as a secondary outcome. RESULTS: A total of 111 patients were recruited within the study time frame in agreement with the funder. The median pre-operative fluid loading volume was 1,875 ml (IQR 1,375 to 2,025) in the fluid group compared to 0 (IQR 0 to 0) in controls with days in hospital after surgery 12.2 (SD 11.5) days compared to 17.4 (SD 20.0) and an adjusted mean difference of 5.5 days (median 2.2 days; 95% CI -0.44 to 11.44; P = 0.07). There was a reduction in adverse events in the fluid intervention group (P = 0.048) and no increase in fluid based complications. The intervention was less costly and more effective (adjusted average cost saving: £2,047; adjusted average gain in benefit: 0.0431 quality adjusted life year (QALY)) and has a high probability of being cost-effective. CONCLUSIONS: Pre-operative intravenous fluid loading leads to a non-significant reduction in hospital length of stay after high-risk major surgery and is likely to be cost-effective. Confirmatory work is required to determine whether these effects are reproducible, and to confirm whether this simple intervention could allow more cost-effective delivery of care. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Prospective Clinical Trials, ISRCTN32188676.