November 30, 2023

Balanced IV solutions may benefit critically ill patients

Editor's Note

Using balanced solutions in intravenous fluid (IV) therapy instead of saline can reduce the risk of death in critically ill patients in intensive care by 4%. These findings were published by The Lancet Respiratory Medicine on November 30.

Patients in intensive care typically receive IV fluids, which can be made up of saline or balanced crystalloids, which in turn are more aligned with the chemistry of human blood. For this study, researchers looked at data from 34,685 patients across six clinical trials conducted in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil.

They found that a patient’s odds of dying was reduced by 4% when given balanced solutions. The researchers note that in a small subset of patients with traumatic brain injury, however, the risk of death was higher with balanced solutions (19.1%) versus saline (14.7%).

The findings revealed that balanced IV solutions may be a better treatment choice for most intensive care patients and can help inform clinician decision-making.


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