Fluid Management in Acute Brain Injury

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of the Review: The aims of fluid management in acute brain injury are to preserve or restore physiology and guarantee appropriate tissue perfusion, avoiding potential iatrogenic effects. We reviewed the literature, focusing on the clinical implications of the selected papers. Our purposes were to summarize the principles regulating the distribution of water between the intracellular, interstitial, and plasma compartments in the normal and the injured brain, and to clarify how these principles could guide fluid administration, with special reference to intracranial pressure control. Recent Findings: Although a considerable amount of research has been published on this topic and in general on fluid management in acute illness, the quality of the evidence tends to vary. Intravascular volume management should aim for euvolemia. There is evidence of harm with aggressive administration of fluid aimed at achieving hypervolemia in cases of subarachnoid hemorrhage. Isotonic crystalloids should be the preferred agents for volume replacement, while colloids, glucose-containing hypotonic solutions, and other hypotonic solutions or albumin should be avoided. Osmotherapy seems to be effective in intracranial hypertension management; however, there is no clear evidence regarding the superiority of hypertonic saline over mannitol. Summary: Fluid therapy plays an important role in the management of acute brain injury patients. However, fluids are a double-edged weapon because of the potential risk of hyper-hydration, hypo- or hyper-osmolar conditions, which may unfavorably affect the clinical course and the outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number74
JournalCurrent Neurology and Neuroscience Reports
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2018


  • Brain injury
  • Fluid therapy
  • Hypertonic saline
  • Mannitol
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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