A study looking at carbohydrate drinks after lung surgery to improve recovery (THIRSTY)

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Lung cancer





This study is to see if having carbohydrate drinks after surgery to remove part or all of your lung can help your recovery afterwards.

More about this trial

Lung surgery to remove cancer is a major operation that can have serious complications. 

We know from research that having carbohydrate Open a glossary item and protein drinks before and after surgery can help people recover after other types of major surgery.

Researchers want to find out if these drinks might be able to help people recover from major lung surgery. So they want to do a clinical trial Open a glossary item with a large number of people. In this trial they will compare people who had carbohydrate drinks before and after surgery with people who didn’t.

Before doing this the researchers need to find out if it is possible to do such a trial. So they’ll ask a small number of people to take part in a feasibility study.

In this feasibility study some of the people will have carbohydrate drinks before and after lung surgery. And some will have water before and after surgery.

Who can enter

The following bullet points list the entry conditions for this study. Talk to your doctor or the study team if you are unsure about any of these. They will be able to advise you. 

You may be able to join this study if you are going to the Heart of England Foundation Trust and all of the following apply. You are:

  • To have surgery to remove part or all of your lung
  • Able to have the carbohydrate drinks before your surgery
  • At least 18 years old

You cannot join this study if any of these apply. You

  • Are taking all your food as a liquid (parenteral nutrition Open a glossary item)
  • Have a body mass index Open a glossary item (BMI) that is less than 18.5. Your doctor will work this out 
  • Are unable to complete the questionnaires on this trial
  • Are pregnant

Trial design

This is a feasibility study. The study team need 60 people from the Heart of England Foundation Trust to join.  

This is a randomised study. Everyone taking part is put into 1 of 2 groups by a computer. Neither you or your doctor can choose which group you are in. 

You will be in a group having 1 of the following:

  • a carbohydrate drink
  • water

TIC TOC diagram

You have the carbohydrate drink or water:

  • 4 times the evening before your operation
  • at least twice on the day of surgery- you’ll have additional drinks if your surgery is in the afternoon
  • twice a day for 2 weeks after surgery

Quality of life
You are asked to fill in a few questionnaires before surgery and then at the following times after your operation:

  • 1 day
  • 2 days
  • 3 days
  • the day you leave hospital
  • 3 to 4 weeks
  • 3 months (this can be done by post or telephone)

The questions ask about how you are feeling, any pain or other symptoms you have had after surgery. This is called a quality of life questionnaire

The study team will telephone you 3 to 4 weeks after surgery to ask about your:

  • surgery and recovery
  • feelings and thoughts about taking part in the study

Hospital visits

You see the doctor before surgery to talk about your operation and to have a couple of tests done. These tests measure:

  • how strong your grip is (hand grip strength)
  • how much air you breathe out (peak flow)

You have these tests done again after your surgery at:

  • 1 day
  • 2 days
  • 3 days
  • the day you leave hospital

You see the doctor 3 to 4 weeks after leaving hospital to see how you are and to have the hand grip and peak flow tests (if needed).

Side effects

The carbohydrate drinks you have before surgery have a light lemon taste that some people may not like. 

The drinks after surgery comes in different flavours and you can choose which flavour you have.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Amy Kerr

Supported by

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials in the UK last year.

Last reviewed:

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