Fluid management of the neurological patient: A concise review
Critical Care , Volume 20 - Issue 1
Maintenance fluids in critically ill brain-injured patients are part of routine critical care. Both the amounts of fluid volumes infused and the type and tonicity of maintenance fluids are relevant in understanding the impact of fluids on the pathophysiology of secondary brain injuries in these patients. In this narrative review, current evidence on routine fluid management of critically ill brain-injured patients and use of haemodynamic monitoring is summarized. Pertinent guidelines and consensus statements on fluid management for brain-injured patients are highlighted. In general, existing guidelines indicate that fluid management in these neurocritical care patients should be targeted at euvolemia using isotonic fluids. A critical appraisal is made of the available literature regarding the appropriate amount of fluids, haemodynamic monitoring and which types of fluids should be administered or avoided and a practical approach to fluid management is elaborated. Although hypovolemia is bound to contribute to secondary brain injury, some more recent data have emerged indicating the potential risks of fluid overload. However, it is acknowledged that many factors govern the relationship between fluid management and cerebral blood flow and oxygenation and more research seems warranted to optimise fluid management and improve outcomes.