Carmen A. Pfortmueller: designed the strategy, performed the literature review, drafted the manuscript. Barbara Kabon: revision for important intellectual content. Joerg C. Schefold: revision for important intellectual content. Edith Fleischmann: revision for important intellectual content
Intravenous infusion of crystalloid solutions is one of the most frequently administered medications worldwide. Available crystalloid infusion solutions have a variety of compositions and have a major impact on body systems; however, administration of crystalloid fluids currently follows a “one fluid for all” approach than a patient-centered fluid prescription. Normal saline is associated with hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis, increased rates of acute kidney injury, increased hemodynamic instability and potentially mortality. Regarding balanced infusates, evidence remains less clear since most studies compared normal saline to buffered infusion solutes.; however, buffered solutes are not homogeneous. The term “buffered solutes” only refers to the concept of acid-buffering in infusion fluids but this does not necessarily imply that the solutes have similar physiological impacts. The currently available data indicate that balanced infusates might have some advantages; however, evidence still is inconclusive. Taking the available evidence together, there is no single fluid that is superior for all patients and settings, because all currently available infusates have distinct differences, advantages and disadvantages; therefore, it seems inevitable to abandon the “one fluid for all” strategy towards a more differentiated and patient-centered approach to fluid therapy in the critically ill.