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Annals of Surgery:
doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e31825074f5
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Major Complications, Mortality, and Resource Utilization After Open Abdominal Surgery: 0.9% Saline Compared to Plasma-Lyte

Shaw, Andrew D. MB, FRCA, FCCM*; Bagshaw, Sean M. MD; Goldstein, Stuart L. MD; Scherer, Lynette A. MD§; Duan, Michael MS; Schermer, Carol R. MD; Kellum, John A. MD#

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Abstract

Objective: To assess the association of 0.9% saline use versus a calcium-free physiologically balanced crystalloid solution with major morbidity and clinical resource use after abdominal surgery.

Background: 0.9% saline, which results in a hyperchloremic acidosis after infusion, is frequently used to replace volume losses after major surgery.

Methods: An observational study using the Premier Perspective Comparative Database was performed to evaluate adult patients undergoing major open abdominal surgery who received either 0.9% saline (30,994 patients) or a balanced crystalloid solution (926 patients) on the day of surgery. The primary outcome was major morbidity and secondary outcomes included minor complications and acidosis-related interventions. Outcomes were evaluated using multivariable logistic regression and propensity scoring models.

Results: For the entire cohort, the in-hospital mortality was 5.6% in the saline group and 2.9% in the balanced group (P < 0.001). One or more major complications occurred in 33.7% of the saline group and 23% of the balanced group (P < 0.001). In the 3:1 propensity-matched sample, treatment with balanced fluid was associated with fewer complications (odds ratio 0.79; 95% confidence interval 0.66–0.97). Postoperative infection (P = 0.006), renal failure requiring dialysis (P < 0.001), blood transfusion (P < 0.001), electrolyte disturbance (P = 0.046), acidosis investigation (P < 0.001), and intervention (P = 0.02) were all more frequent in patients receiving 0.9% saline.

Conclusions: Among hospitals in the Premier Perspective Database, the use of a calcium-free balanced crystalloid for replacement of fluid losses on the day of major surgery was associated with less postoperative morbidity than 0.9% saline.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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