Potential side effects of a saline drip after a surgical procedure

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Various surgical procedures are accompanied by large shift in fluids. In most cases, blood can be lost from a particular operation while water is lost through urine, respiration and evaporation. Fluids are administered during surgery in order to counter the fluid loss during the operation. After the surgery, the individual will still continue to lose fluids and may have limited oral intake, thus fluids are continued through a saline drip. Even though a saline drip is essential, there are side effects that are uncommon but several can occur in some cases. If you want to know more about these effects, click here.


The swelling of the tissues particularly in the legs is less likely to occur in healthy individuals. It is quite common among those who have kidney, liver and heart disease. When it comes to kidney disease, the mechanism is the same for breathing difficulty. The kidneys could not eliminate fluids rapidly enough and they return to the tissues.

As for heart disease, it is usually right-sided heart failure that is responsible for the inflammation of the tissues.  Take note that the right part of the heart propels blood from the entire body up to the lungs. In case it pumps insufficiently, the fluid will build up and cause swelling. In certain types of liver disease, the liver generates less protein for the blood. These proteins help keep the blood in the vascular system. The lack of these proteins will lead to excess fluids such as from a saline drip since they will leak into the tissues, resulting to swelling.

Saline drip
ake note that breathing difficulty can occur as a side effect of a saline drip after a surgical procedure.

Breathing difficulty

Take note that breathing difficulty can occur as a side effect of a saline drip after a surgical procedure. Among healthy individuals, the heart and kidneys are capable of keeping up with any excess fluid that is administered via an intravenous line. As for those who have kidney issues that result to diminished urine output, the excess fluid can accumulate in the blood vessels since the kidneys could not completely eliminate the fluid from the blood into the urine rapidly enough.

The fluid backs up into the blood vessels and leaks into the tissues. In the lungs, the fluid will disrupt with the gas exchange and results to breathing difficulty. The excess fluid can also lead to breathing difficulty among those who have heart issues, especially those that affect the left side of the heart. When it comes to left-side heart failure, the right side pumps adequate blood to the lungs but the left side could not pump properly the blood out of the lungs and into the body.

Mineral imbalances

The normal saline that is used in intravenous lines usually has a higher concentration of sodium and chloride than in blood. Take note that the kidneys are in charge not only for controlling the total amount of fluid in the body, but also the composition.

If kidney disease is present, the kidneys could not efficiently dilute the excess minerals present in normal saline, thus resulting to high sodium and chloride levels. The elevated chloride can cause the blood to be more acidic while the high sodium level can lead to lethargy, weakness and swelling.

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