Impact of hypertonic saline on postoperative complications for patients undergoing upper gastrointestinal surgery

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The aim of this study was to explore the impact of 3% hypertonic saline (HS) intragastric administration for patients who underwent upper gastrointestinal surgery.

During the postoperative period, 3% HS has been suggested as a means to improve the intestinal edema and reduce gastrointestinal complications.

The medical records of 111 patients with HS intragastric administration following upper gastrointestinal surgery and 268 patients, served as control, were reviewed retrospectively. Propensity score matching was performed to adjust for selected baseline variables. Clinical outcomes, including early gastrointestinal function recovery, postoperative complications, and length of hospital stay, were compared according to the HS intragastric administration or not.

HS intragastric administration was associated with prompt postoperative gastrointestinal function recovery, including first flatus (risk ratio [RR], 1.32; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.89–1.65; P = 0.048) and feeding within 3 postoperative days (RR (95% CI), 0.57 (0.49–0.77); P = 0.036). Early ileus occurred in 25 of 108 patients with HS treatment versus 36 of 108 patients without HS treatment (RR (95% CI), 1.43 (0.63–2.15); P = 0.065). The patients with HS experienced a lower overall postoperative complication (odds ratio [OD] 0.57; 95% CI, 0.33–1.09; P = 0.063), including trend toward a decrease for infectious complications (15[13.9] vs 23[21.3]; P = 0.11; OD, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.29–1.22). There was a decreased incidence of anastomotic leakage (1[0.9] vs 7[6.5]; P = 0.033) and postoperative ileuas (5[4.6%] vs 11[10.2%]; P = 0.096) in the HS administration patients.

Our study demonstrated beneficial postoperative clinical effects of HS intragastric administration in patients who had undergone upper gastrointestinal surgery, such as prompt postoperative gastrointestinal function recovery and reduced overall postoperative complications, which may be attributed to a reduced intestinal edema.

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