The proper fluid resuscitation of hemorrhagic shock is still controversial. Hypertonic saline has been suggested for prehospital resuscitation of hemorrhagic shock, because of its superior ability to expand blood volume and elevate systemic blood pressure and cardiac output in a small volume and during a short time period. We have defined two types of hemorrhagic shock: controlled hemorrhagic shock (CHS), where the bleeding source is immediately occluded following hemorrhage, and uncontrolled hemorrhagic shock (UCHS), where bleeding is induced by injury to blood vessels that are left unoccluded. It was observed that hypertonic saline (HTS) treatment of controlled hemorrhagic shock leads to an increase in blood pressure and cardiac output, while HTS treatment of UCHS leads to increased bleeding from injured blood vessels, hemodynamic deterioration, and increased mortality. Conversion of UCHS to CHS by tourniquet, military antishock trousers, or surgical hemostasis prevented excessive bleeding and mortality following HTS. Several clinical studies have used hypertonic saline dextran (HSD) or hypertonic saline (HS) for treatment of trauma casualties, but to date no significant improvement in mortality has been demonstrated by either HS or HSD. A more favorable effect but still not statistically significant effect has been demonstrated in patients with a Glasgow Coma Scale of 8 or less. The efficacy of HS has not clearly been established in clinical trials, in all of which HS was used in combination with conventional crystalloid therapy. Further human trials are required to better define the patient population that would benefit most from the prehospital administration of HS.
©1995The Shock Society