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Anaesthesiol Intensive Ther. 2018;50(2):150-159. doi: 10.5603/AIT.a2017.0067. Epub 2017 Nov 22.

The use of crystalloids in traumatic brain injury.

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Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Medical University of Lublin, Poland.


Fluid therapy is one of the most important treatments in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) as both hypo- and hypervolaemia can cause harm. The main goals of fluid therapy for patients with TBI are to optimize cerebral perfusion and to maintain adequate cerebral oxygenation. The avoidance of cerebral oedema is clearly essential. The current weight of evidence in the published literature suggests that albumin therapy is harmful and plasma substitutes have failed to demonstrate superiority over crystalloids solutions. Crystalloids are the most common fluids administered in patients with TBI. However, differences in their composition may affect coagulation and plasma tonicity and acid-base homeostasis. The choice of the ideal crystalloid fluid in TBI should be made based on tonicity, type of buffer used and volume status. Hypotonic fluids buffered with substances altering blood coagulation should be avoided in clinical practice. The prescriber remains faced with choices about the tonicity and pH buffering capability of fluid therapy, which we review here.


acidosis; blood coagulation; brain; cerebral salt wasting; crystalloids; fluids; hyperchloraemic; hyponatremia; intravenous; tonicity; traumatic injury

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