Passive Leg Raising: Simple and Reliable Technique to Prevent Fluid Overload in Critically ill Patients

Farahnak Assadi


Background: Dynamic measures, the response to stroke volume (SV) to fluid loading, have been used successfully to guide fluid management decisions in critically ill patients. However, application of dynamic measures is often inaccurate to predict fluid responsiveness in patients with arrhythmias, ventricular dysfunction or spontaneously breathing critically ill patients. Passive leg raising (PLR) is a simple bedside maneuver that may provide an accurate alternative to guide fluid resuscitation in hypovolemic critically ill patients.

Methods: Pertinent medical literature for fluid responsiveness in the critically ill patient published in English was searched over the past three decades, and then the search was extended as linked citations indicated.

Results: Thirty‑three studies including observational studies, randomized control trials, systemic review, and meta‑analysis studies evaluating fluid responsiveness in the critically ill patient met selection criteria.

Conclusions: PLR coupled with real‑time SV monitors is considered a simple, noninvasive, and accurate method to determine fluid responsiveness in critically ill patients with high sensitivity and specifcity for a 10% increase in SV. The adverse effect of albumin on the mortality of head trauma patients and chloride‑rich crystalloids on mortality and kidney function needs to be considered when choosing the type of fluid for resuscitation.

Keywords: Colloids, critically ill patients, crystalloids, fluid responsiveness, passive leg raising,
stroke volume

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