Much uncertainty exists as to whether peri-operative goal-directed therapy is of benefit.OBJECTIVES
To discover if peri-operative goal-directed therapy decreases mortality and morbidity in adult surgical patients.DESIGN
An updated systematic review and random effects meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.DATA SOURCES
Medline, Embase and the Cochrane Library were searched up to 31 December 2016.ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
Randomised controlled trials enrolling adult surgical patients allocated to receive goal-directed therapy or standard care were eligible for inclusion. Trauma patients and parturients were excluded. Goal-directed therapy was defined as fluid and/or vasopressor therapy titrated to haemodynamic goals [e.g. cardiac output (CO)]. Outcomes included mortality, morbidity and hospital length of stay. Risk of bias was assessed using Cochrane methodology.RESULTS
Ninety-five randomised trials (11 659 patients) were included. Only four studies were at low risk of bias. Modern goal-directed therapy reduced mortality compared with standard care [odds ratio (OR) 0.66; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.50 to 0.87; number needed to treat = 59; N = 52; I2 = 0.0%]. In subgroup analysis, there was no mortality benefit for fluid-only goal-directed therapy, cardiac surgery patients or nonelective surgery. Contemporary goal-directed therapy also reduced pneumonia (OR 0.69; 95% CI, 0.51 to 0. 92; number needed to treat = 38), acute kidney injury (OR 0. 73; 95% CI, 0.58 to 0.92; number needed to treat = 29), wound infection (OR 0.48; 95% CI, 0.37 to 0.63; number needed to treat = 19) and hospital length of stay (days) (−0.90; 95% CI, −1.32 to −0.48; I2 = 81. 2%). No important differences in outcomes were found for the pulmonary artery catheter studies, after accounting for advances in the standard of care.CONCLUSION
Peri-operative modern goal-directed therapy reduces morbidity and mortality. Importantly, the quality of evidence was low to very low (e.g. Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation scoring), and there was much clinical heterogeneity among the goal-directed therapy devices and protocols. Additional well designed and adequately powered trials on peri-operative goal-directed therapy are necessary.