Lactate Ringer's Solution: Uses and Side Effects


If you've ever had surgery, were ill, or were traumatized enough to warrant hospitalization, chances are you've been given something called lactate Ringer's solution. This strangely named fluid is given through an intravenous fluid, which means into a vein to treat dehydration, administer medications, and restore fluid balance after injury.

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Ringer's lactate is a sterile solution made up of water, sodium chloride (salt), sodium lactate, potassium chloride, and calcium chloride. It is often used in place of saline (water and 0.9% sodium chloride).

Also know as

Other names include:

  • Ringer's lactate solution
  • Ringer's saline solution
  • Ringer's solution
  • RL
  • Hartman's solution
  • Sodium lactate solution


Ringer's solution was developed in the late 19th century by British physician Sydney Ringer to maintain hydration of organs during research in live animals. It was around the same time that the saline solution was injected into the veins of severely dehydrated cholera patients. , was created.

In the 1930s, physician Alexis Hartmann modified Ringer's original formula by adding lactate, which he found reduced the risk of acidosis (an abnormal accumulation of acid in the blood) .

There are other options for Ringer's solution, such as those containing acetate, that may be better for people with liver disease (since lactate tends to increase as liver function declines) .

Medical use

Ringer's lactate solution is widely used to replace fluid loss and to facilitate some intravenous procedures. It is more beneficial than saline because it does not stay in the body for as long and is therefore less likely to cause fluid overload .

The addition of lactate reduces acidity, as the body converts it to bicarbonate, a key element that helps regulate the body's pH balance. Acidosis usually occurs when the fluid portion of the blood is too low, a condition called hypovolemia .

Ringer's Lactate Solution can be used to :

  • Treat dehydration
  • Maintain hydration in hospitalized patients who cannot retain fluids.
  • Recovery of body fluids after significant blood loss or severe burns.
  • Keep your IV open
  • Assist in the transport of intravenous drugs to the vein.

Ringer's Lactate Solution is also ideal for people with sepsis , kidney failure , or respiratory acidosis who normally have an acid-base balance .

Lactated Ringer's solution can also be used for non-intravenous use, such as wound irrigation and tissue irrigation during open surgery. However, it cannot be swallowed.

Side effects and risks

Lactated Ringer's solution is generally safe and well tolerated, but overuse can cause swelling and edema (accumulation of fluid in the tissues). Pain at the injection site is the most common side effect. Very rarely, a person has an allergic reaction to Ringer's disease.

Ringer's lactate solution can also be a problem for people who cannot effectively remove fluids from the body, such as those with congestive heart failure , chronic kidney disease , cirrhosis , and hypoalbuminemia (a common cause of hypovolemia).

There are no direct contraindications to the use of lactated Ringer's solution, but it should not be administered to people with severe liver dysfunction. Particular attention should be paid to people with heart or kidney disease .

Other considerations

Lactated Ringer's solution does not work well with some IV medications. These include :

  • Ceftriaxone (intravenous antibiotic)
  • Mannitol (diuretic)
  • Methylprednisone (corticosteroid)
  • Nitroglycerin (used to control blood pressure during surgery)
  • Nitroprusside (vasodilator)
  • Norepinephrine (used to control low blood pressure and shock)
  • Procainamide (used to treat heart rhythm disorders).
  • Propanolol (used to treat rapid heart rate)

Saline is safer for these drugs.

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