A European, Multicenter, Observational Study to Assess the Value of Gastric-to-End Tidal P CO2 Difference in Predicting Postoperative Complications

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Automated online tonometry displays a rapid, semi-continuous measurement of gastric-to-endtidal carbon dioxide (Pr-etCO2) as an index of gastrointestinal perfusion during surgery. Its use to predict postoperative outcome has not been studied in general surgery patients. We, therefore, studied ASA physical status III–IV patients operated on for elective surgery under general anesthesia and a planned duration of >2 h in a European, multicenter study. As each center was equipped with only 1 tonometric monitor, a randomization was performed if more than one patient was eligible the same day. Patients not monitored with tonometry were assessed only for follow-up. The main outcome measure was the assessment of postoperative functional recovery delay (FRD) on day 8. Among the 290 patients studied, 34% had FRD associated with a longer hospital stay. The most common FRDs were gastrointestinal (45%), infection (39%), and respiratory (35%). In those monitored with tonometry (n =179), maximum Pr-etCO2 proved to be the best predictor increasing the probability of FRD from 34% for all patients to 65% at a cut-off of 21 mm Hg (2.8kPa) (sensitivity 0.27, specificity 0.92, positive predictive value 64%, negative predictive value 70%). We conclude that intraoperative Pr-etCO2 measurement may be a useful prognostic index of postoperative morbidity.

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