Intravenous fluid bolus therapy: A bi-national survey of critical care nurses' self-reported practice

G. M. Eastwood, R. Parke, L. Peck, H. Young, E. Paton, L. Zhang, G. Zhu, A. Tanaka, N. J. Glassford, R. Bellomo

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Knowledge of critical care nurses' intravenous fluid bolus therapy (FBT) practice remains underexplored. Using a multi-choice online survey conducted between September and October 2014, we sought to describe the self-reported practice of critical care nurses located in Australia and New Zealand. Two hundred and ninety-five critical care nurses responded to the survey with most practising in adult ICUs. Overall, 0.9% saline solution was the preferred solution for FBT. However, more Australian than New Zealand respondents preferred 'albumin 4%' (31% versus 3.6%, P <0.01) for FBT. In contrast, more New Zealand respondents preferred 'Plasma-Lyte®' (33.3% versus 6.4%, P <0.01). Half of the respondents defined FBT as 250 ml administered as quickly as possible. However, FBT volumes ranged from 100 ml to >1000 ml and administration duration from as quickly as possible to 60 minutes. In response to FBT, almost half of the respondents expected an increase in mean arterial pressure of between 11 to 20 mmHg. Similarly, >40% expected a central venous pressure increase >3 mmHg, >70% expected a urinary output increase of 0.5 to 1.0 ml/kg/hr, and >60% expected a decrease in heart rate of >11 /min. Overall, 0.9% saline remains the most common solution for FBT, but there are significant national differences in the preference for albumin and Plasma-Lyte. A volume of 250 ml defines a fluid bolus, with a range from 100 ml to >1000 ml, and speed of delivery from stat to 60 minutes. Most nurses expect substantial physiological effects with FBT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-51
Number of pages8
JournalAnaesthesia and intensive care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • acute care nursing
  • fluid bolus therapy
  • fluid resuscitation
  • intensive care
  • intravenous fluid

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