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Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2002 Jul;46(6):625-38.

Small-volume resuscitation: from experimental evidence to clinical routine. Advantages and disadvantages of hypertonic solutions.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Ludwig-Maximilian University Munich, Munich, Germany.



The concept of small-volume resuscitation (SVR) using hypertonic solutions encompasses the rapid infusion of a small dose (4 ml per kg body weight, i.e. approximately 250 ml in an adult patient) of 7.2-7.5% NaCl/colloid solution. Originally, SVR was aimed for initial therapy of severe hypovolemia and shock associated with trauma.


The present review focuses on the findings concerning the working mechanisms responsible for the rapid onset of the circulatory effect, the impact of the colloid component on microcirculatory resuscitation, and describes the indications for its application in the preclinical scenario as well as perioperatively and in intensive care medicine.


With respect to the actual data base of clinical trials SVR seems to be superior to conventional volume therapy with regard to faster normalization of microvascular perfusion during shock phases and early resumption of organ function. Particularly patients with head trauma in association with systemic hypotension appear to benefit. Besides, potential indications for this concept include cardiac and cardiovascular surgery (attenuation of reperfusion injury during declamping phase) and burn injury. The review also describes disadvantages and potential adverse effects of SVR:


Small-volume resuscitation by means of hypertonic NaCl/colloid solutions stands for one of the most innovative concepts for primary resuscitation from trauma and shock established in the past decade. Today the spectrum of potential indications involves not only prehospital trauma care, but also perioperative and intensive care therapy.

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