Context: Administration of traditional chloride-liberal intravenous fluids may precipitate acute kidney injury (AKI).
Objective: To assess the association of a chloride-restrictive (vs chloride-liberal) intravenous fluid strategy with AKI in critically ill patients.
Design, setting, and patients: Prospective, open-label, sequential period pilot study of 760 patients admitted consecutively to the intensive care unit (ICU) during the control period (February 18 to August 17, 2008) compared with 773 patients admitted consecutively during the intervention period (February 18 to August 17, 2009) at a university-affiliated hospital in Melbourne, Australia.
Interventions: During the control period, patients received standard intravenous fluids. After a 6-month phase-out period (August 18, 2008, to February 17, 2009), any use of chloride-rich intravenous fluids (0.9% saline, 4% succinylated gelatin solution, or 4% albumin solution) was restricted to attending specialist approval only during the intervention period; patients instead received a lactated solution (Hartmann solution), a balanced solution (Plasma-Lyte 148), and chloride-poor 20% albumin.
Main outcome measures: The primary outcomes included increase from baseline to peak creatinine level in the ICU and incidence of AKI according to the risk, injury, failure, loss, end-stage (RIFLE) classification. Secondary post hoc analysis outcomes included the need for renal replacement therapy (RRT), length of stay in ICU and hospital, and survival. RESULTS Chloride administration decreased by 144 504 mmol (from 694 to 496 mmol/patient) from the control period to the intervention period. Comparing the control period with the intervention period, the mean serum creatinine level increase while in the ICU was 22.6 μmol/L (95% CI, 17.5-27.7 μmol/L) vs 14.8 μmol/L (95% CI, 9.8-19.9 μmol/L) (P = .03), the incidence of injury and failure class of RIFLE-defined AKI was 14% (95% CI, 11%-16%; n = 105) vs 8.4% (95% CI, 6.4%-10%; n = 65) (P <.001), and the use of RRT was 10% (95% CI, 8.1%-12%; n = 78) vs 6.3% (95% CI, 4.6%-8.1%; n = 49) (P = .005). After adjustment for covariates, this association remained for incidence of injury and failure class of RIFLE-defined AKI (odds ratio, 0.52 [95% CI, 0.37-0.75]; P <.001) and use of RRT (odds ratio, 0.52 [95% CI, 0.33-0.81]; P = .004). There were no differences in hospital mortality, hospital or ICU length of stay, or need for RRT after hospital discharge. CONCLUSION The implementation of a chloride-restrictive strategy in a tertiary ICU was associated with a significant decrease in the incidence of AKI and use of RRT.
Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00885404.