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Anaesth Intensive Care. 2008 Nov;36(6):822-9.

Acid-base effects of a bicarbonate-balanced priming fluid during cardiopulmonary bypass: comparison with Plasma-Lyte 148. A randomised single-blinded study.

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  • 1Department of Anaesthesia, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Erratum in

  • Anaesth Intensive Care. 2012 Jul;40(4):719.


Fluid-induced metabolic acidosis can be harmful and can complicate cardiopulmonary bypass. In an attempt to prevent this disturbance, we designed a bicarbonate-based crystalloid circuit prime balanced on physico-chemical principles with a strong ion difference of 24 mEq/l and compared its acid-base effects with those of Plasma-Lyte 148, a multiple electrolyte replacement solution containing acetate plus gluconate totalling 50 mEq/l. Twenty patients with normal acid-base status undergoing elective cardiac surgery were randomised 1:1 to a 2 litre prime of either bicarbonate-balanced fluid or Plasma-Lyte 148. With the trial fluid, metabolic acid-base status was normal following bypass initiation (standard base excess 0.1 (1.3) mEq/l, mean, SD), whereas Plasma-Lyte 148 produced a slight metabolic acidosis (standard base excess -2.2 (2.1) mEq/l). Estimated group difference after baseline adjustment was 3.6 mEq/l (95% confidence interval 2.1 to 5.1 mEq/l, P=0.0001). By late bypass, mean standard base excess in both groups was normal (0.8 (2.2) mEq/l vs. -0.8 (1.3) mEq/l, P=0.5). Strong ion gap values were unaltered with the trial fluid, but with Plasma-Lyte 148 increased significantly on bypass initiation (15.2 (2.5) mEq/l vs. 2.5 (1.5) mEq/l, P < 0.0001), remaining elevated in late bypass (8.4 (3.4) mEq/l vs. 5.8 (2.4) mEq/l, P < 0.05). We conclude that a bicarbonate-based crystalloid with a strong ion difference of 24 mEq/l is balanced for cardiopulmonary bypass in patients with normal acid-base status, whereas Plasma-Lyte 148 triggers a surge of unmeasured anions, persisting throughout bypass. These are likely to be gluconate and/or acetate. Whether surges of exogenous anions during bypass can be harmful requires further study.

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