Effects of preoperative oral carbohydrates and peptides on postoperative endocrine response, mobilization, nutrition and muscle function in abdominal surgery

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2003 Feb;47(2):191-9. doi: 10.1034/j.1399-6576.2003.00047.x.


Background: Surgery is succeeded by long-lasting state of relative peripheral insulin resistance, which is reduced by giving glucose infusion or oral carbohydrate-rich drinks immediate before operating instead of fasting. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether oral carbohydrate or carbohydrate with peptide drinks preoperatively instead of fasting would improve postoperative voluntary muscle strength, nutritional intake and ambulation, decrease postoperative fatigue, anxiety and discomfort, and reduce the endocrine response to surgery.

Methods: Forty-eight patients were included and randomized into three groups to receive 2 x 400 ml of carbohydrate-rich drinks or to fast overnight and allowed only water. Voluntary grip and quadriceps strength, body composition, pulmonary function, VAS-score of eight parameters of wellbeing, muscle biopsies and insulin, glucagon, IGF-1 and free fatty acids were measured before and after the operation. The basic postoperative regimen for all groups were immediate oral nutrition and early enforced mobilization.

Results: Significant postoperative decrease in glycogen synthase activity in the muscle biopsies was reduced in the intervention groups, and in combination, the intervention groups had a less reduced quadriceps strength after one week (-10% vs. -16%, NS) and one month (-5% vs. -13%, P < 0.05). Minor changes in the endocrine response to surgery were found without differences between the groups, and there were no differences between the groups in ambulation time, nutritional intake or subjective measures of wellbeing.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / surgery*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Body Composition / drug effects
  • Body Fluids / physiology
  • Carbohydrates / pharmacology*
  • Early Ambulation
  • Female
  • Gastric Emptying / drug effects
  • Hormones / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Fatigue / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Pain Measurement
  • Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Preoperative Care
  • Respiratory Function Tests


  • Carbohydrates
  • Hormones
  • Peptides