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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2019 Dec 15;200(12):1487-1495. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201903-0557OC.

Balanced Crystalloids versus Saline in Sepsis. A Secondary Analysis of the SMART Clinical Trial.

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Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine.
Department of Biostatistics.
Department of Medicine.
Department of Anesthesiology.
Department of Biomedical Informatics.
Department of Surgery.
Department of Health Policy.
Department of Pharmaceutical Services.
Vanderbilt Center for Kidney Disease and Integrated Program for Acute Kidney Injury Research, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, and.
Department of Emergency Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee.


Rationale: Administration of intravenous crystalloid solutions is a fundamental therapy for sepsis, but the effect of crystalloid composition on patient outcomes remains unknown.Objectives: To compare the effect of balanced crystalloids versus saline on 30-day in-hospital mortality among critically ill adults with sepsis.Methods: Secondary analysis of patients from SMART (Isotonic Solutions and Major Adverse Renal Events Trial) admitted to the medical ICU with an International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition, Clinical Modification System code for sepsis, using multivariable regression to control for potential confounders.Measurements and Main Results: Of 15,802 patients enrolled in SMART, 1,641 patients were admitted to the medical ICU with a diagnosis of sepsis. A total of 217 patients (26.3%) in the balanced crystalloids group experienced 30-day in-hospital morality compared with 255 patients (31.2%) in the saline group (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.74; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.59-0.93; P = 0.01). Patients in the balanced group experienced a lower incidence of major adverse kidney events within 30 days (35.4% vs. 40.1%; aOR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.63-0.97) and a greater number of vasopressor-free days (20 ± 12 vs. 19 ± 13; aOR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.02-1.54) and renal replacement therapy-free days (20 ± 12 vs. 19 ± 13; aOR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.08-1.69) compared with the saline group.Conclusions: Among patients with sepsis in a large randomized trial, use of balanced crystalloids was associated with a lower 30-day in-hospital mortality compared with use of saline.Clinical trial registered with (NCT02444988).


balanced crystalloids; lactated Ringer’s; saline; sepsis; septic shock

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