Common Hospital Practice Kills 50,000+ Per Year

The saline used in IV bags could be killing you

(Associated Press) New research calls into question what’s in those IV bags that nearly every hospitalized patient gets.

Using a different intravenous fluid instead of the usual saline greatly reduced the risk of death or kidney damage, two large studies found.

The difference could mean 50,000 to 70,000 fewer deaths and 100,000 fewer cases of kidney failure each year in the US, researchers estimate.

“We’ve been sounding the alarm for 20 years” about possible harms from saline, said Dr. John Kellum, a critical care specialist at the University of Pittsburgh.

Saline — salt dissolved in water — has been the most widely used fluid in the US for more than a century even as evidence has emerged that it can harm kidneys, especially when used a lot.

Other IV solutions called balanced fluids include saline but also contain potassium and other things that make them more like plasma, the clear part of blood. They’re widely used in Europe and Australia.

Matthew Semler, M.D. Image: Vanderbilt University/Youtube

“There are tens or hundreds of thousands of patients who would be spared death or severe kidney problems by using balanced fluids instead of saline,” said one study leader, Vanderbilt’s Dr. Matthew Semler. Read the full story at NY Post