Impact of early postoperative oral nutritional supplement utilization on clinical outcomes in colorectal surgery.


Background:Small randomized trials of early postoperative oral nutritional supplementation (ONS) suggest various health benefits following colorectal surgery (CRS). However, real-world evidence of the impact of early ONS on clinical outcomes in CRS is lacking. Methods:Using a nationwide administrative-financial database (Premier Healthcare Database), we examined the association between early ONS use and postoperative clinical outcomes in patients undergoing elective open or laparoscopic CRS between 2008 and 2014. Early ONS was defined as the presence of charges for ONS before postoperative day (POD) 3. The primary outcome was composite infectious complications. Key secondary efficacy (intensive care unit (ICU) admission and gastrointestinal complications) and falsification (blood transfusion and myocardial infarction) outcomes were also examined. Propensity score matching was used to assemble patient groups that were comparable at baseline, and differences in outcomes were examined. Results:Overall, patients receiving early ONS were older with greater comorbidities and more likely to be Medicare beneficiaries with malnutrition. In a well-matched sample of early ONS recipients (n = 267) versus non-recipients (n = 534), infectious complications were significantly lower in early ONS recipients (6.7% vs. 11.8%, P < 0.03). Early ONS use was also associated with significantly reduced rates of pneumonia (P < 0.04), ICU admissions (P < 0.04), and gastrointestinal complications (P < 0.05). There were no significant differences in falsification outcomes. Conclusions:Although early postoperative ONS after CRS was more likely to be utilized in elderly patients with greater comorbidities, the use of early ONS was associated with reduced infectious complications, pneumonia, ICU admission, and gastrointestinal complications. This propensity score-matched study using real-world data suggests that clinical outcomes are improved with early ONS use, a simple and inexpensive intervention in CRS patients.





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Publication Info

Williams, David GA, Tetsu Ohnuma, Vijay Krishnamoorthy, Karthik Raghunathan, Suela Sulo, Bridget A Cassady, Refaat Hegazi, Paul E Wischmeyer, et al. (2020). Impact of early postoperative oral nutritional supplement utilization on clinical outcomes in colorectal surgery. Perioperative medicine (London, England), 9(1). p. 29. 10.1186/s13741-020-00160-6 Retrieved from

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Tetsu Ohnuma

Assistant Professor in Anesthesiology

Vijay Krishnamoorthy

Associate Professor of Anesthesiology

Karthik Raghunathan

Associate Professor of Anesthesiology

Dr. Karthik Raghunathan is an Associate Professor with Tenure in the Department of Anesthesiology, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Population Health Sciences, at the Duke University School of Medicine and is a Staff Physician at the Durham Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. He is co-director of the Critical care And Perioperative population hEalth Research (CAPER) Program. 

In addition to clinical practice as an anesthesiologist and intensive care physician, Dr. Raghunathan is an epidemiologist and health services researcher with over $2 Million in funding from Federal, Industry, and Non-Profit entities since 2015. He co-directs the Critical care and Perioperative Population Health Research (CAPER) program, generating and disseminating evidence to inform clinical practice guidelines.

His studies focus on: a) the comparative effectiveness and safety of procedures and medications used for acute postoperative pain management, fluid resuscitation during surgery and intensive care; b) the implementation and effectiveness of nonpharmacologic treatments, such as music medicine and peripheral neuromodulation, and c) reducing race, sex, and income-based inequities in treatments and outcomes.

Dr. Raghunathan collaborates with colleagues within Duke, as well as colleagues at Academically affiliated other VA Healthcare Systems. He welcomes collaboration and can be reached at 


Paul Edmund Wischmeyer

Professor of Anesthesiology

Paul Wischmeyer M.D., EDIC, FASPEN, FCCM is a nutrition, exercise, critical care, and perioperative  physician-researcher who specializes in enhancing preparation and recovery from surgery, critical care and COVID-19. He serves as a Tenured Professor of Anesthesiology and Surgery at Duke. He also serves as the Associate Vice Chair for Clinical Research in the Dept. of Anesthesiology and Director of the TPN/Nutrition Team at Duke. Dr. Wischmeyer earned his medical degree with honors at The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, where he was elected into the honor society of Alpha Omega Alpha for outstanding academic achievement. He completed his pediatric internship at University of Colorado Children’s Hospital and his anesthesiology/critical care residency training at the University of Chicago. He also completed a Clinical Pharmacology fellowship and the NIH K30 Clinical Research Scientist Training Program while at University of Chicago.
   Dr. Wischmeyer’s clinical and research focus is in critical care, perioperative care exercise, and nutrition to help patients prepare and recover from illness and surgery. His research interests include surgical and ICU nutrition and exercise rehabilitation; role of parenteral, enteral, and oral nutrition to improve patient outcomes; perioperative optimization; post-illness muscle mass and functional recovery; and probiotics/microbiome. His research interests have also recently been focused on COVID-19 research into COVID-19 metabolism, role of probiotics in COVID19 prevention and treatment, and exercise and nutrition programs to recover from COVID-19 and Long COVID-19. Dr. Wischmeyer’s research group has been awarded multiple NIH, DOD, and other peer reviewed grants to perform research ranging from basic mechanistic cell work to large-scale multi-center clinical trials in the fields of critical care, perioperative medicine, nutrition, illness metabolism, microbiome/probiotics, and exercise interventions to improve functional outcomes. For his research work and clinical work, Dr. Wischmeyer has received numerous awards from national and international societies including, The Jeffrey Silverstein Award and Memorial Lecture for Humanism in Medicine from the American Delirium Society, The John M. Kinney Award for the most significant contribution to field of general nutrition, the Stanley Dudrick Research Scholar Award by the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition and The Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Parenteral Nutrition Society (IPENEMA) for significant contributions to the field of nutrition.  Dr. Wischmeyer has over 200 peer-reviewed publications in critical care, anesthesiology, and nutrition, including in the New England Journal of Medicine. Finally, he has been an invited speaker at numerous national and international medical meetings delivering over 900 invited presentations over his career. He has an H-index of 73 with over 16,500 citations to his work, including 1 publication with > 1000 citations and 55 publications with > 100 citations. He is also the founder and director of the Duke Online Clinical Nutrition Fellowship, an international fellowship to provide clinical nutrition training to healthcare providers worldwide, as well as unique scholarship opportunities for healthcare providers in developing nations.
    Dr. Wischmeyer passion for helping patients recover from illness and surgery arises from his personal experiences as both doctor and patient in the ICU. Dr. Wischmeyer has undergone over 27 major surgeries and personally experienced multiple ICU stays due to a childhood GI illness that took more than half of his intestinal tract. Thus, preparation for surgery/critical care and recovery from illness are a way of life for Dr. Wischmeyer that he is passionate about teaching his patients and other caregivers worldwide.


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