National Survey of Fluid Therapy in Acute Pancreatitis: Current Practice Lacks a Sound Evidence Base
Fluid therapy (FT) is a critical intervention in managing acute pancreatitis (AP). There is a paucity of evidence to guide FT and virtually no data on current prescribing practice. This survey aims to characterize current practice and opinion with regard to FT in AP throughout New Zealand.
Information was collected on fluid selection, administration, and goal-directed FT. The survey was distributed online and in print to all doctors employed in General Surgery Departments in New Zealand on 1 May 2012. Monthly email reminders were sent for 6 months.
The overall response rate was 47 % (n = 190/408). Crystalloids were the preferred initial fluid for all categories of severity; however, colloid use increased with severity (p < 0.001). Fluid volume also increased with severity (p = 0.001), with 74 % of respondents prescribing >4 L for AP with organ failure (OF). Clinicians treating 26–50 patients per year with AP were less likely to prescribe colloid for AP with OF (8 vs 43 %) (p = 0.001). Rate of fluid administration in AP with OF varied according to physicians’ seniority (p = 0.004); consultants prescribed >4 L more than other groups (83 vs 68 %). Only 17 % of respondents reported the use of guidelines.
This survey reveals significant variation in prescription of FT for AP, and aggressive FT is commonly prescribed for AP with OF. There is little adherence to published guidelines or best available evidence.