There is a killer in the IV bags, here’s safer option than saline

Saline is the most used fluid in the U.S. for more than a century even as there is evidence that it can be dangerous to your kidney when used in a huge amount. Other IV solutions also include saline, but they also contain potassium and other things which makes them more like plasma.

IV bags, kidney failure, death, saline, IV solutions, IV fluids, balanced fluids

A new study raises a new question — What is IV bags? Almost every hospitalized patient gets IV bags. According to two big studies, usage of a different intravenous fluid in place of the usual saline highly lower the risk of kidney damage and death.

The researchers examined 28,000 patients at Vanderbilt University, they were given IVs of saline, which is also known as a balanced fluid. The studies found that there was one fewer severe kidney problem or death for every 100 people on these fluids.

One study leader, Vanderbilt’s Dr. Matthew Semler said, as there are nearly 30 million people hospitalized each year along in U.S., “there are tens or hundreds of thousands of patients who would be spared death or severe kidney problems by using balanced fluids instead of saline.”

Kellum said that Vanderbilt hospital officials decided, after seeing the results of both the findings, to use balanced fluids primarily.

Surprisingly the difference could decline the deaths by 50,000 to 70,000, it could also decrease cases of kidney failure each year in the U.S. by 100,000. Some doctors are hoping that the great result by using a different intravenous fluid will persuade more hospitals to switch with.

“We’ve been sounding the alarm for 20 years,” a critical care specialist at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. John Kellum said about possible harms from saline, “It’s purely inertia” that stops a change.

Kellum had no contribution in the studies, the studies became subject of discussion at a critical care conference in San Antonio on Tuesday which were published by the New England Journal of Medicine. In addition, federal grants helped pay for it.

What are IVs? 

IVs are used to maintain blood pressure, prevent dehydration or to give patient nutrients or medicines if they are unable to eat. It is one of the most common things in health care.

What is saline

Saline is better known as a mixture of sodium chloride in water with multiple uses in healthcare, including it is used to clean wounds, help with dry eyes, help remove contact lenses, used to treat dehydration by injection into a vein, and used to dilute other medications given by injection. Saline is the most used fluid in the U.S. for more than a century even as there is evidence that it can be dangerous to your kidney when used in a huge amount.

Other IV solutions are known as balanced fluids also include saline, but they also contain potassium and other things which makes them more like plasma, the blood’s clear part. These balanced fluids have been widely used in Australia and Europe.

These balanced fluids or IV solutions cost around the same, a dollar per IV or two. Many suppliers supply both types of fluids. According to doctors, switching with them should not be expensive or difficult.

IV solutions have been in talks since Puerto Rico hit by Hurricane Maria last fall, destroyed three power plants owned by Baxter Internationa and shutting down electricity. For those who aren’t aware, Baxter International is one of the biggest makers of these balanced fluids. The shortage of supply has been eased but still there are some supply issues remains.

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