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Intraoperative intravascular volume optimisation and length of hospital stay after repair of proximal femoral fracture: randomised controlled trial

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 11 October 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:909
  1. Susan Sinclair, clinical research fellowa,
  2. Sally James, sister, orthopaedic wardb,
  3. Mervyn Singer (m.singer{at}, senior lecturer in intensive care medicinea
  1. a Bloomsbury Institute of Intensive Care Medicine, Division of Medicine, University College London Medical School, London WC1E 6JJ
  2. b Department of Orthopaedics, University College London Hospitals, London [postcode please]
  1. Correspondence to: Dr M Singer
  • Accepted 28 May 1997


Objectives: To assess whether intraoperative intravascular volume optimisation improves outcome and shortens hospital stay after repair of proximal femoral fracture.

Design: Prospective, randomised controlled trial comparing conventional intraoperative fluid management with repeated colloid fluid challenges monitored by oesophageal Doppler ultrasonography to maintain maximal stroke volume throughout the operative period.

Setting: Teaching hospital, London.

Subjects: 40 patients undergoing repair of proximal femoral fracture under general anaesthesia.

Interventions: Patients were randomly assigned to receive either conventional intraoperative fluid management (control patients) or additional repeated colloid fluid challenges with oesophageal Doppler ultrasonography used to maintain maximal stroke volume throughout the operative period (protocol patients).

Main outcome measures: Time declared medically fit for hospital discharge, duration of hospital stay (in acute bed; in acute plus long stay bed), mortality, perioperative haemodynamic changes.

Results: Intraoperative intravascular fluid loading produced significantly greater changes in stroke volume (median 15 ml (95% confidence interval 10 to 21 ml)) and cardiac output (1.2 l/min (0.1 to 2.3 l/min)) than in the conventionally managed group (−5 ml (−10 to 1 ml) and −0.4 l/min (−1.0 to 0.2 l/min)) (P<0.001 and P<0.05, respectively). One protocol patient and two control patients died in hospital. In the survivors, postoperative recovery was significantly faster in the protocol patients, with shorter times to being declared medically fit for discharge (median 10 (9 to 15) days v 15 (11 to 40) days, P<0.05) and a 39% reduction in hospital stay (12 (8 to 13) days v 20 (10 to 61) days, P<0.05).

Conclusions: Proximal femoral fracture repair constitutes surgery in a high risk population. Intraoperative intravascular volume loading to optimal stroke volume resulted in a more rapid postoperative recovery and a significantly reduced hospital stay.

Key messages

  • Patients undergoing hip fracture repair constitute a high risk group with considerable mortality and morbidity and an often protracted postoperative hospital stay

  • These patients often have depleted intravascular volume in the perioperative period and rarely receive either invasive haemodynamic monitoring or high dependency care

  • Haemodynamic optimisation guided by pulmonary artery catheter in the perioperative period has been shown to improve outcome in high risk patients undergoing major surgery, but this is not considered routinely practicable for hip fracture repair

  • Intravascular volume optimisation directed by minimally invasive oesophageal Doppler monitoring in the intraoperative period significantly reduces hospital stay


    • Accepted 28 May 1997
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