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

Laura A. Pachella, Reza J. Mehran, Kimberly Curtin, Susan M. Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1250-1256
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Perianesthesia Nursing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • carbohydrate loading
  • enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS)
  • postoperative nausea and vomiting
  • postoperative pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medical–Surgical


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