Published online Feb 4, 2014. doi: 10.5492/wjccm.v3.i1.24
Revised: October 30, 2013
Accepted: December 12, 2013
Published online: February 4, 2014
Core tip: Fluid therapy is exceedingly common in acutely ill patients; however, numerous questions on the efficacy and safety of fluid therapy in terms of the type and dose remain. Fluid therapy prescription is context-specific and any fluid type can be harmful if administered inappropriately. When considering crystalloids versus colloids, differences in efficacy are modest but the risk of kidney toxicity and bleeding complications with hydroxyethyl starch appear more significant. The differences in chloride load across crystalloid solutions appears to have physiologic and clinically important effects, in particular for contributing to hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis, kidney injury and greater utilization of renal replacement therapy associated with 0.9% saline. Fluid therapy should be viewed as analogous to the prescription of any drug in acutely ill patients.