Introducing hypertonic saline for cerebral edema an academic center experience

Lisa L. Larive, Denise H. Rhoney, Dennis Parker, William M. Coplin, J. Ricardo Carhuapoma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Introduction: Use of hypertonic saline (HTS) is gaining acceptance in the neurosciences critical care unit (NCCU) based on its efficacy in reducing cerebral edema and its favorable hemodynamic profile. In the NCCU, unfamiliarity with the use of HTS may result in implementation difficulties. We report our initial experience using HTS, its ability to achieve a hypernatremic state, and adverse effects. Methods: Analysis of 19 consecutive patients who were admitted to the NCCU and treated with 2 or 3% HTS infusion for cerebral edema (target serum sodium: 145-155 mEq/L) included patient diagnoses, laboratory data, length of treatment, adverse effects, and outcome at discharge. We compared the adverse effects of those patients to a contemporary cohort of patients who received mannitol as the sole form of osmotherapy. Results: The HTS cohort had a median age of 46 years (range: 18-70). Median GCS and APACHE II scores were 11 (range: 3-15) and 18 (range: 8-30), respectively. Median length of HTS treatment was 5 days (range: 1-17). Target hypernatremia was achieved in 14 patients (74%), 7 of whom achieved hypernatremia within the first 24 hours. The median number of rescue interventions received for ICP control was 3 (range: 1-30). The adverse effects between the HTS and mannitol cohorts were not found to be significantly different. Conclusion: The use of HTS for cerebral edema requires intensive efforts by the medical team to rapidly achieve and maintain a hypernatremic state. The continuous infusion of HTS was used safely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-440
Number of pages6
JournalNeurocritical care
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004


  • Brain injury
  • Cerebral edema
  • Hypertonic saline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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