It is said that when using crystalloids, two to four times more fluid may be required to restore and maintain intravascular fluid volume compared with colloids, although true evidence is scarce. The ratio in the SAFE study comparing albumin with saline resuscitation was 1:1.3, however.
A single-centre, single- blinded, randomized clinical trial was carried out on 24 critically ill sepsis and 24 non-sepsis patients with clinical hypovolaemia, assigned to loading with normal saline, gelatin 4%, hydroxyethyl starch 6% or albumin 5% in a 90-min (delta) central venous pressure (CVP)-guided fluid loading protocol. Haemodynamic monitoring using transpulmonary thermodilution was done each 30 min to measure, among other things, global end-diastolic volume and cardiac indices (GEDVI, CI). The reason sepsis was looked at was because of a suggestion in the SAFE study of benefit from albumin in the pre-defined sepsis subgroup.
Independent of underlying disease, CVP and GEDVI increased more after colloid than saline loading (P = 0.018), so that CI increased by about 2% after saline and 12% after colloid loading (P = 0.029).
Their results agree with the traditional (pre-SAFE) idea of ratios of crystalloid:colloid, since the difference in cardiac output increase multiplied by the difference in volume infused was three for colloids versus saline.
Take home message? Even though an outcome benefit has not yet been conclusively demonstrated, colloids such as albumin increase pre-load and cardiac index more effectively than equivalent volumes of crystalloid in hypovolaemic critically ill patients.
Greater cardiac response of colloid than saline fluid loading in septic and non-septic critically ill patients with clinical hypovolaemia
Intensive Care Med. 2010 Apr;36(4):697-701