Hypercapnia and surgical site infection: A randomized trial

O. Akça, A. Kurz, E. Fleischmann, D. Buggy, F. Herbst, L. Stocchi, S. Galandiuk, S. Iscoe, J. Fisher, C. C. Apfel, D. I. Sessler, Klaus Erdik, Erol Eredics, Barbara Kabon, Sara Kazerounian, Oliver Kimberger, Andre Kugener, Corinna Marschalek, Pia Mikocki, Monika NiedermayerEva Obewegeser, Ina Ratzenbock, Romana Rozum, Sonja Sindhuber, Katja Schlemitz, Karl Schebesta, Anton Stift, Adrian Alvarez, Endrit Bala, Samuel T. Chen, Jagan Devarajan, Ankit Maheshwari, Ramatia Mahboobi, Edward Mascha, Hassan Nagem, Suman Rajogopalan, Luke Reynolds, Erich Zirzow, Helmut Hager, Akiko Taguchi, James W. Fleshman, Thomas E. Read, Diane DeLong, Anthony G. Doufas, Raghavendra Govinda, Yusuke Kasuya, Ryu Komatsu, Rainer Lenhardt, Mukadder Orhan-Sungur, Papiya Sengupta, Anupama Wadhwa, Mujeeb Arain, Siun Burke, Barry McGuire, Jackie Ragheb, Tobias Podranski, Akikio Taguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


BackgroundTissue oxygenation is a strong predictor of surgical site infection (SSI). Mild intraoperative hypercapnia increases peripheral, gastrointestinal, and splanchnic tissue oxygenation and perfusion. Hypercapnia also has anti-inflammatory effects. However, it is unknown whether hypercapnia reduces SSI risk. We tested the hypothesis that mild intraoperative hypercapnia reduces the risk of SSI in patients having colon resection surgery.MethodsWith institutional review board approval and subject consent, patients having elective colon resection (e.g. hemicolectomy and low-anterior resection) expected to last >2 h were randomly assigned to intraoperative normocapnia (≈35 mm Hg; n=623) or hypercapnia (≈50 mm Hg; n=592). Investigators blinded to group assignment evaluated perioperative SSI (Center for Disease Control criteria) for 30 postoperative days. SSI rates were compared. ResultsPatient and surgical characteristics were comparable among the groups. The SSI rate for normocapnia was 13.3%, and for hypercapnia, it was 11.2% (P=0.29). The Executive Committee stopped the trial after the first a priori determined statistical assessment point because of much smaller actual effect compared with the projected. However, because the actual difference found in the SSI rates (15-16%) were within the 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of the projected relative difference of 33% (95% CI -43 to +24%), our results cannot be considered as 'no difference', and cannot exclude a Type II error. Time to first bowel movement was half-a-day shorter in the hypercapnia group.ConclusionsMild hypercapnia appears to have little or - possibly - no ability to prevent SSI after colon resection. Other strategies for reducing SSI risk should thus take priority.Trial registrationClinicalTrials.gov (NCT00273377).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)759-767
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • carbon dioxide hypercapnia
  • complications infections
  • infection
  • surgery abdominal
  • surgery gastrointestinal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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