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Acid-base and bio-energetics during balanced versus unbalanced normovolaemic haemodilution

University of Queensland Intensive Care Laboratories, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


Fluids balanced to avoid acid-base disturbances may be preferable to saline, which causes metabolic acidosis in high volume. We evaluated acid-base and bio-energetic effects of haemodilution with a crystalloid balanced on physical chemical principles, versus crystalloids causing metabolic acidosis or metabolic alkalosis.
Anaesthetised, mechanically ventilated Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 32, allocated to four groups) underwent six exchanges of 9 ml crystalloid for 3 ml blood. Exchange was with one of three crystalloids with strong ion difference (SID) values of 0, 24 (balanced) and 40 mEq/l. Controls did not undergo haemodilution.
Mean haemoglobin concentration fell to approximately 50 g/l after haemodilution. With SID 24 mEq/l fluid, metabolic acid-base remained unchanged. Dilution with SID 0 mEq/l and 40 mEq/l fluids caused a progressive metabolic acidosis and alkalosis respectively. Standard base excess (SBE) and haemoglobin concentration were directly correlated in the SID 0 mEq/l group (R² = 0.61), indirectly correlated in the SBE 40 mEq/l group (R² = 0.48) and showed no correlation in the SID 24 mEq/l group (R² = 0.003). There were no significant differences between final ileal values of CO2 gap, nucleotides concentration, energy charge, or luminal lactate concentration. SID 40 mEq/l crystalloid dilution caused a significant rise in subcutaneous lactate. In this group mean kidney ATP concentration was significantly less than controls and renal energy charge significantly lower than SID 0 mEq/l and control groups.
We conclude that a crystalloid SID of 24 mEq/l provides balanced haemodilution. Bio-energetic perturbations with higher SID haemodilution may be more severe and need further investigation.

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