Postoperative gastrointestinal tract dysfunction

Anesth Analg. 2005 Jan;100(1):196-204. doi: 10.1213/01.ANE.0000139376.45591.17.


Postoperative gastrointestinal (GI) tract dysfunction (PGID) is common and is associated with increased patient suffering and cost of care. The pathogenesis of PGID is complex and multifactorial. Traditional measures intended to reduce the incidence of PGID, such as the use of prokinetic drugs, nasogastric tube drainage, and the avoidance of early fluid and/or food intake, are apparently not beneficial. The administration of larger volumes of IV fluids to achieve predetermined increases in cardiac output has been shown in randomized trials to improve gut perfusion and reduce the incidence of PGID. A multimodal approach that includes limited surgical incision, regional local anesthesia, early mobilization, and enteral feeding has been associated with a dramatic reduction in postoperative complications, PGID, and length of hospital stay. However, none of these approaches has been validated in adequately powered multicenter prospective randomized controlled trials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia / adverse effects
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / therapy
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology