Coda begins where SMACC ends. Find us on

Fluids in Critical Care: Time to SPLIT With Normal Saline?

Summary By: Paul Young

Intravenous fluid therapy is a ubiquitous treatment for critically ill patients and has been used in clinical practice for over 175 years. Despite this long history, the majority of intravenous fluids have not been subjected to the same level of scrutiny as other drugs. That said, large-scale fluid trials evaluating albumin and starch solutions compared to 0.9% saline have been conducted and their results have changed clinical practice around the world so that crystalloid fluid therapy is now predominant in many parts of the world.

While 0.9% saline is the world’s most commonly prescribed crystalloid fluid, increasingly clinicians are turning to buffered or balanced crystalloid solutions as an alternative to 0.9% saline. This practice change from 0.9% saline towards balanced crystalloids is not based on high quality evidence but is supported by observational data suggesting that saline may be associated with an increased risk of renal toxicity and mortality compared to buffered crystalloids.

This talk gives an overview of the data comparing the comparative effectiveness of 0.9% saline and buffered crystalloids, provides an overview of the historical context of intravenous fluid therapy (and proctoclysis), and describes the design of the Saline vs. Plasma-Lyte 148® for Intravenous fluid Therapy (SPLIT) trial which has now been completed and was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

External Links
• [The Bottom line] SPLIT trial reviewed
• [article] Effect of a Buffered Crystalloid Solution vs Saline on Acute Kidney Injury Among Patients in the Intensive Care Unit The SPLIT Randomized Clinical Trial
• [editorial] Editorial accompanying paper
• [videocast] Presentation of SPLIT trial at ESICM by Dr Paul Young
• [Further reading] Association Between a Chloride-Liberal vs Chloride-Restrictive Intravenous Fluid Administration Strategy and Kidney Injury in Critically Ill Adults
• [St Emlyn’s] SPLIT trial published. Saline or Plasmalyte on the ICU?

The Podcast

The Slides


Leave a reply

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?