Cognitive changes after saline or plasmalyte infusion in healthy volunteers: a multiple blinded, randomized, cross-over trial.

PMID 23598288


In an incidental finding, during a study of plasma chemistry after crystalloid infusion, participants reported subjective cognitive changes, particularly slower thinking, after saline but not Hartmann's (Ringer's lactate) solution. The authors tested the hypothesis that saline infusion would produce greater adverse cognitive changes than Plasmalyte infusion. The authors conducted a randomized, cross-over, multiple blinded study of healthy adult volunteers. On separate days, participants received 30 ml/kg over 1 h of either 0.9% saline or Plasmalyte with the order randomly allocated. Plasma chemistry was tested on venous samples. As part of a battery of cognitive tests our primary endpoint was the reaction time index after infusion. The authors studied 25 participants. Plasma chloride was greater after saline than after Plasmalyte: mean difference 5.4 mM (95% CI, 4.1-6.6 mM; P < 0.001). Saline was also associated with greater metabolic acidosis: base-excess 2.5 mM more negative (95% CI, 1.9-3.0 mM more negative; P < 0.001). There was no evidence of a difference in the reaction time index between the two interventions: mean reaction time index 394 ms (SD, 72) after saline versus 385 ms (SD, 55) after Plasmalyte. Difference: saline 9 ms slower (95% CI, 30 ms slower to 12 ms faster; P = 0.39). There were minimal differences in the other cognitive and mood tests. Despite expected differences in plasma chemistry, the authors found that measures of cognition did not differ after infusions of Plasmalyte or saline.