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Early post-operative period

Post-operative review:

  • Patients (including live donor recipients) often remain in recovery up to 2 hours after operation is completed. During this period a member of the transplant team must review them in theatre recovery.
  • Surgical registrar contacts renal team on #6394 once patient in recovery to    communicate intraoperative course / concerns and facilitate nephrology review.
  • Post op review by surgical team (either in recovery or HDU) to consider fluid status, wound and drain output.

Fluid management:

  • Initial (e.g. first 2 hours) IV fluid replacement is Normal Saline at 60 mls/hr + last hour’s urine output. This should be guided by the CVP with a target of 8-10.
  • Aim for CVP 8-10.
  • Fluid regimen should take into consideration: amount of fluid given in theatre, total blood loss, native urine output, cardiac status of patient, age of patient (caution if >65), if DGF expected.

Guide to fluid replacement

Fluid replacement in polyuric patients - replacing urine


Remember that each litre of saline/plasmalyte contains 1.5 days worth maximum salt intake

First 6-8h alternating (1:1) electrolyte/5% glucose


Thereafter to 48h 2:1 Glucose: electrolyte solutions - but in review and reduce t 3:1 or 4:1. If a patient has failed to drink enough to keep up, the appropriate replacement fluid is usually 5% glucose.

Some patients lose more salt. This usually becomes apparent after a few days. Increasing dietary salt minimises the need for IV replacement.

If passing urine >40ml/hr:

  • CVP 6-10:  TOTAL OUTPUT +60mls/hr
  • CVP >10:  TOTAL OUTPUT +40mls/hr

Total output should include drain losses (especially important in SPK recipients)

(2)  If expected immediate graft function and urine output <40mls/hr  

  •  Ensure catheter not blocked. Member of surgical team should flush out catheter at this early stage.
  • If requested by surgeons arrange Doppler ultrasound.
  • Plasmaltye bolus 200mls to achieve CVP of 8-10.
  •  Consider IV NaCl at continuous rate of 100 mls/hr initially.
  • Response must be carefully assessed (hourly initially) before continuing infusion at this rate and especially if remains oligoanuric.

NB: Any concerns should be discussed with transplant surgeon and renal team.

(3)  If expected DGF

  • CVP 6-10:  TOTAL OUTPUT +60mls/hr
  • Careful monitoring of fluid status is required as higher risk of precipitating pulmonary oedema.

Failure of the patient to respond to IV Fluid with a rise in CVP or BP should raise possibility of bleeding. If there is a possibility of bleeding a transplant surgeon must be contacted.

Maintenance IV fluids: 

Continuing IV fluid replacement should be maintained with alternating 5% Dextrose and Normal Saline. At least twice daily reviews should occur while patients require IV fluids. IV fluids may often be stopped by the second post-operative day.


  • Check FBC and U&E's immediately post-op.
  • Serum K+ must be know and result discussed with Registrar.
  • Hyperkalaemia should be managed with Insulin/Dextrose and nebulised Salbutamol rather than haemodialysis when possible.
  • Subsequent repeat U&Es 12 hourly (more frequently if indicated or as decided by Registrar).

Other aspects of early post-operative management:

  • Arrange chest X-ray for position of central line (may be performed in recovery – ensure checked).
  • Analgesia is by PCA morphine/Fentanyl. Inadequate pain relief may herald serious pathology and should be discussed with a senior surgical colleague/Anaesthetist. NSAIDs are absolutely avoided.


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This page last modified 06.02.2018 14:18 by Emma Farrell. edren and edrep are produced by the Renal Unit at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh. CAUTIONS and Contact us.