Continuous hypertonic saline therapy and the occurrence of complications in neurocritically ill patients

Matteus Froelich, Quanhong Ni, Christian Wess, Igor Ougorets, Roger Härtl
Critical Care Medicine 2009, 37 (4): 1433-41

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate potential side effects of continuous hypertonic 3% saline (CHS) as maintenance fluid in patients with brain injury.

METHODS: Retrospective chart analysis of prospectively collected data.

PATIENTS: Patients admitted to the neurosurgical intensive care unit for >4 days with traumatic brain injury, stroke, or subarachnoid hemorrhage with a Glasgow Coma Scale <9 and elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) or at risk of developing elevated ICP were included. Based on physician preference, one group was treated with 3% CHS at a rate of 1.5 mL/kg/bw as maintenance fluid. The other group received 0.9% normal saline (NS). Two percent saline was used in the CHS group to wean patients off 3% CHS or when sodium was above 155. Data on serum sodium, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, ICP, infection rate, length of stay, rates of deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary emboli and dural thrombosis were collected prospectively.

RESULTS: One hundred seven patients in the CHS group and 80 in the NS group met the inclusion criteria. The incidence of moderate hypernatremia (Na >155 mmol/L) and severe hypernatremia (Na >160 mmol/L) was significantly higher in the CHS therapy group than in the NS group. No significant relationship between CHS infusion and renal dysfunction was found. Moderate and severe hypernatremia was associated with a higher risk of elevated blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels. Acute renal failure was not seen in these patients. A total of 53.3% in the CHS group and in 16.3% in the NS group (p < 0.0001) had raised ICP (>25 mm Hg), consistent with the physicians decision to use CHS in patients with elevated ICP.

CONCLUSIONS: CHS therapy was not associated with an increased rate of infection, deep vein thrombosis, or renal failure. However, there was a significant risk of developing hypernatremia. We conclude that CHS administration in patients with severe injuries is safe as long as sodium levels are carefully monitored.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"