Preoperative Carbohydrate Loading in Patients Undergoing Thoracic Surgery: A Quality-Improvement Project

J Perianesth Nurs. 2019 Dec;34(6):1250-1256. doi: 10.1016/j.jopan.2019.05.007. Epub 2019 Aug 21.


Purpose: The purpose of this project was to implement carbohydrate loading in patients undergoing thoracic surgery in an effort to decrease postoperative pain, nausea, and length of stay as a part of an enhanced recovery after surgery protocol.

Design: This quality-improvement project used a preintervention and postintervention design.

Methods: Carbohydrate loading was given to 50 patients before undergoing thoracic surgery. Chart review was performed for 47 patients who received standard preoperative instructions in the preintervention group as historical control.

Findings: Patients who received carbohydrate loading had a decreased use of opioids in the first 4 hours after surgery (P = .028) and decreased use of antiemetic medication in the first 24 hours after surgery compared with the preintervention group (P = .066). Patients who were instructed to consume carbohydrate loading complied 87% of the time.

Conclusions: Carbohydrate loading can decrease postoperative nausea and pain in patients undergoing thoracic surgery.

Keywords: carbohydrate loading; enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS); postoperative nausea and vomiting; postoperative pain.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Preoperative Care
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Thoracic Surgical Procedures*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates