BACKGROUND: This study aimed to quantify changes in acid-base balance, potassium and lactate levels as a function of administration of different crystalloid solutions during kidney transplantation, and to determine the ideal fluid for such patients. METHODS: In this double-blind study, patients were randomized to three groups (n = 30 each) to receive either normal saline, lactated Ringer's, or Plasmalyte, all at 20-30 mL x kg(-1) x h(-1). Arterial blood analyses were performed before induction of anesthesia, and at 30-min intervals during surgery, and total IV fluids recorded. Urine volume, serum creatinine and BUN, and creatinine clearance were recorded on postoperative days 1, 2, 3, and 7. RESULTS: There was a statistically significant decrease in pH (7.44 +/- 0.50 vs 7.36 +/- 0.05), base excess (0.4 +/- 3.1 vs -4.3 +/- 2.1), and a significant increase in serum chloride (104 +/- 2 vs 125 +/- 3 mM/L) in patients receiving saline during surgery. Lactate levels increased significantly in patients who received Ringer's lactate (0.48 +/- 0.29 vs 1.95 +/- 0.48). No significant changes in acid-base measures or lactate levels occurred in patients who received Plasmalyte. Potassium levels were not significantly changed in any group. CONCLUSIONS: All three crystalloid solutions can be safely used during uncomplicated, short-duration renal transplants; however, the best metabolic profile is maintained in patients who receive Plasmalyte.
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