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Ir J Med Sci. 2014 Feb 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Single bolus 30 % hypertonic saline for refractory intracranial hypertension.

Author information

  • 1Regional Intensive Care Unit, Royal Victoria Hospital, Grosvenor Road, BT12 6BA, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, e.major@qub.ac.uk.



In recent years hypertonic saline has attracted increasing interest in the treatment of traumatic intracranial hypertension, and has a number of documented and theoretical advantages over other hyperosmolar agents. To date, no consensus has been achieved on the safest and most effective HTS concentration for administration.


The purpose of this paper was to evaluate the efficacy of intravenous bolus administration of highly concentrated (30 %) hypertonic saline (HTS) in the treatment of refractory intracranial hypertension secondary to traumatic brain injury.


Patients were treated with an intravenous bolus of 10 ml of 30 % hypertonic saline. Multiple physiological parameters were measured throughout, including intracranial pressure, mean arterial pressure, cerebral perfusion pressure, pulse and inotrope/pressor requirements. Laboratory investigation pre and post HTS administration included: arterial pH, pCO2, HCO3, base excess; serum biochemistry measurements of sodium, potassium, chloride, urea and creatinine; and coagulation studies.


TBI patients saw a rapid and significant reduction in ICP from a baseline value of 28 ± 5.31 to 18.44 ± 6.17 mmHg at 1 h post HTS, a statistically significant reduction that was maintained for up to 7 h. This response was maintained even with repeated HTS administration, which was also associated with an augmented cerebral perfusion pressure from a baseline of 58.0 ± 6.48 to 76.33 mmHg within 1 h of HTS administration.


No associated harmful biochemical or haematological abnormalities were noted. In conclusion, highly concentrated 30 % HTS appears to be both effective and safe in the management of refractory intracranial hypertension.

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