Balanced crystalloid solution versus saline in deceased donor kidney transplantation (BEST-Fluids): a pragmatic, double-blind, randomised, controlled trial

BEST-Fluids Investigators, Australasian Kidney Trials Network

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Background: Delayed graft function (DGF) is a major adverse complication of deceased donor kidney transplantation. Intravenous fluids are routinely given to patients receiving a transplant to maintain intravascular volume and optimise graft function. Saline (0·9% sodium chloride) is widely used but might increase the risk of DGF due to its high chloride content. We aimed to test our hypothesis that using a balanced low-chloride crystalloid solution (Plasma-Lyte 148) instead of saline would reduce the incidence of DGF. Methods: BEST-Fluids was a pragmatic, registry-embedded, multicentre, double-blind, randomised, controlled trial at 16 hospitals in Australia and New Zealand. Adults and children of any age receiving a deceased donor kidney transplant were eligible; those receiving a multi-organ transplant or weighing less than 20 kg were excluded. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1) using an adaptive minimisation algorithm to intravenous balanced crystalloid solution (Plasma-Lyte 148) or saline during surgery and up until 48 h after transplantation. Trial fluids were supplied in identical bags and clinicians determined the fluid volume, rate, and time of discontinuation. The primary outcome was DGF, defined as receiving dialysis within 7 days after transplantation. All participants who consented and received a transplant were included in the intention-to-treat analysis of the primary outcome. Safety was analysed in all randomly assigned eligible participants who commenced surgery and received trial fluids, whether or not they received a transplant. This study is registered with Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, (ACTRN12617000358347), and (NCT03829488). Findings: Between Jan 26, 2018, and Aug 10, 2020, 808 participants were randomly assigned to balanced crystalloid (n=404) or saline (n=404) and received a transplant (512 [63%] were male and 296 [37%] were female). One participant in the saline group withdrew before 7 days and was excluded, leaving 404 participants in the balanced crystalloid group and 403 in the saline group that were included in the primary analysis. DGF occurred in 121 (30%) of 404 participants in the balanced crystalloid group versus 160 (40%) of 403 in the saline group (adjusted relative risk 0·74 [95% CI 0·66 to 0·84; p<0·0001]; adjusted risk difference 10·1% [95% CI 3·5 to 16·6]). In the safety analysis, numbers of investigator-reported serious adverse events were similar in both groups, being reported in three (<1%) of 406 participants in the balanced crystalloid group versus five (1%) of 409 participants in the saline group (adjusted risk difference –0·5%, 95% CI –1·8 to 0·9; p=0·48). Interpretation: Among patients receiving a deceased donor kidney transplant, intravenous fluid therapy with balanced crystalloid solution reduced the incidence of DGF compared with saline. Balanced crystalloid solution should be the standard-of-care intravenous fluid used in deceased donor kidney transplantation. Funding: Medical Research Future Fund and National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia), Health Research Council (New Zealand), Royal Australasian College of Physicians, and Baxter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-117
Number of pages13
JournalThe Lancet
Issue number10396
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2023

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