The phenomenon of "fluid creep" in acute burn resuscitation

J Burn Care Res. May-Jun 2007;28(3):382-95. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0B013E318053D3A1.


Several reports have documented that modern burn patients receive far more resuscitation fluid than predicted by the Parkland formula-a phenomenon termed "fluid creep." This article reviews the incidence, consequences, and possible etiologies of fluid creep in modern practice and uses this information to propose some therapeutic strategies to reduce or eliminate excessive fluid resuscitation in burn care. A literature review was performed of historical references that form the foundation of modern fluid resuscitation, as well as reports of fluid creep and its consequences. The original Parkland formula required a 24-hour volume of 4 ml/kg/%TBSA lactated Ringer's solution followed by an infusion of 0.3-0.5 ml/kg/ %TBSA plasma. Modern iterations of this formula have omitted the colloid bolus. Numerous exceptions to the formula have been noted, most consistently patients with inhalation injuries. In contrast, recent reports document greatly increased fluid requirements in unselected patients, which seems to consist largely of progressive edema formation in unburned areas, increasing after the first 8 hours post-burn. This has been linked to occurrence of the abdominal compartment syndrome and other serious complications. Strategies to reduce fluid creep include the avoidance of early overresuscitation, use of colloid as a routine component of resuscitation or for "rescue," and adherence to protocols for fluid resuscitation. Fluid creep is a significant problem in modern burn care. Review of original investigations of burn shock, coupled with modern reports of fluid creep, suggests several mechanisms by which this problem can be controlled. Prospective trials of these therapies are needed to confirm their effectiveness.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Burns / therapy*
  • Fluid Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Resuscitation*
  • Severity of Illness Index