Lactated Ringers is a sterile solution that is used to replace any kind of fluid loss from the body. It is used for a term called fluid resuscitation, which is required when a person needs excessive fluid because of blood loss or some form of serious illness. Ideally, it looks just like water but contains calcium, lactate, sodium, chloride and potassium as additives. It is also referred to as LR, Ringer’s Lactate or Ringer’s Solution.
It is mostly useful for controlling excessive vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration or any form of infectious disease such as cholera. You can either inject it through an intravenous fluid injection or through a process known as electrolyte therapy. It is usually provided through hypotonic glucose and a saline solution so that the process of ingestion becomes easy. The usage of this medicine helps to replenish fluids and restore back the electrolyte balance in the body to provide some form of relief from acidity.
The lactate in a Lactated Ringers solution is metabolised in the liver to bicarbonate it, wherein it counters metabolic acidosis and helps to maintain a stable pH which is better than saline. However, Lactated Ringers should never be used along with ceftriaxone because it then increases the risk of ceftriaxone-calcium salt precipitation in the body which could turn out to be fatal mostly in newly born children. It should also not be used for maintaining electrolytes in one’s body for a long term use since the level of sodium and potassium is low for daily requirement of electrolyte.
What Is The Reason Behind Its Name?
In the later part of 1800s, a physician named Sydney Ringer had come up with a solution which consisted of calcium, potassium, sodium and chloride in water. Hence this solution was named Ringer’s, after him. Some years later, another physician named Alexis Hartmann suggested that adding lactate in this solution would make it more suitable for pediatric patients. Lactate is the chemical that our muscles produce during exercise and is a natural part of milk. Hence, when lactate was added to this solution it came to be known as Lactated Ringer’s.
What Is Lactated Ringers Used For?
Ideally it is used to replace loss of any form of fluid, blood or both in the body. Since there is sodium in the content, it is not used as a prolonged fluid replacement but only as a frequently used large volume of fluid, which is also called fluid resuscitation. Lactated Ringer’s is used instead of normal saline solution as it contains both fluid as well as electrolytes which is suitable for both children as well as adults. Moreover, Lactated Ringer’s has less side effects compared to normal saline.
If you have suffered severe burns, a lot of blood loss, or severed fluid loss which could be because of dehydration or some surgery then in these cases, Lactated Ringer’s is given in high dose. Even small amount of Lactated Ringer’s is given to maintain IV which provides the required fluids whenever a patient is not able to drink enough fluid so as to support the normal functioning of the body.
What Are The Side Effects Of Lactated Ringers Solution?
There are not too many risks of using Lactated Ringer’s solution which includes the following:
- Pain at the IV location
- Allergy to the solution
- Overuse of fluids
- Overdose of electrolyte, chloride, or potassium
There could be a high chance of overuse of this solution which is why it is always important that you are carefully monitored by your doctor or physician when you are receiving Lactated Ringer’s. It is safe for use by children as well as adults. However, it is not highly recommended for infants, pregnant women and geriatric patients. Moreover, it should also not be used by patients who have renal or cardiac disease.
How Is Lactated Ringer Given?
Lactated Ringers is administered through a IV intravenously directly into your blood. It cannot be taken orally. It is often given in emergency situations or after a surgery, instead of normal saline.
How Is Lactated Ringers Better Than Normal Saline?
Normal saline is known to promote metabolic acidosis. While on the other hand, balanced crystalloids which is found in Lactated Ringers results in lower rate of composite outcome of death among critically ill adults, which is not the same in the use of saline. Further, Lactated Ringers result in lower incidence of major adverse kidney dysfunctioning within 30 days as compared to normal saline.
Lactated Ringer’s is not recommended for patients who have kidney failure as it contains potassium and it could lead to hyperkalemia or high level of potassium. It should also not be used by people who have liver disease as it cannot break down the lactate in the solution. Also, people who have lactic acidosis should also not be given Lactated Ringer’s as it could imbalance the electrolyte level in the body.