Effect of intravenous lactated Ringer's solution infusion on the circulating lactate concentration: Part 3. Results of a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Aarati Didwania, Jo Ann Miller, Daniel Kassel, Eric V. Jackson, Bart Chernow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Objectives: We previously discovered that small amounts of lactated Ringer's solution, which are inadequately cleared from an intravenous catheter, falsely increase the circulating lactate concentration in blood samples collected from that catheter. That finding prompted us to test the hypothesis that intravenous lactated Ringer's solution, infused at a rate used in resuscitation, would increase the circulating lactate concentration. Design: A prospective, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study. Setting: A critical care research laboratory. Subjects: Twenty-four normal, healthy, adult volunteer subjects. Interventions: Two intravenous catheters were placed. One was used for the infusion of the test solution and the other catheter was used for blood sampling. Blood samples were serially collected for the determination of blood lactate concentrations. Measurements and Main Results: Twenty-four healthy adult volunteers were randomized to receive a 1- hr infusion of either lactated Ringer's solution (n = 6), 0.9% saline (n = 6), 5% dextrose in lactated Ringer's solution (D5RL) (n = 6), or 5% dextrose in water (D5W) (n = 6). Each subject received nothing by mouth after midnight. At 0800 hrs, catheters were inserted and each subject received 1 L of the assigned solution over 1 hr. Throughout the study, the subjects were at rest. Three-milliliter samples of venous blood were collected before, during (at 15, 30, 45, and 60 mins), and after (at 90, 120, and 240 mins) the infusion. Blood samples were placed on ice immediately after collection and analyzed within 5 mins of collection. Lactate concentrations were determined using an ion-selective, amperometric electrode, which we, have previously validated. Lactate concentrations were compared between subjects receiving lactated Ringer's solution vs. subjects receiving normal saline. A similar comparison was made between subjects receiving D5RL vs. D5W at similar time points during the study. There were no clinically or statistically significant differences in lactate values at the time points studied in those subjects receiving lactated Ringer's solution vs. those persons receiving normal saline (p > .05; n = 12; Student-Newman-Keuls' multiple comparison test) or those subjects receiving D5W vs. those subjects infused with D5RL (p > .05; n = 12; Student-Newman-Keuls' multiple comparison test). In no case did the circulating lactate values exceed 2 mmol/L (the upper limit of normal). Conclusions: The short-term infusion of lactated Ringer's solution in normal adults (hemodynamically stable) does not falsely increase circulating lactate concentrations when 1 L is given over 1 hr. Therefore, clinicians should not disregard increased lactate concentrations in patients receiving a rapid infusion of lactated Ringer's solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1851-1854
Number of pages4
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Circulating lactate concentration
  • Critical care
  • Humans
  • Intravenous infusion
  • Lactate
  • Microchemistry
  • Resuscitation
  • Ringer's lactate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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