TEMSA’s Saline Shortage Survey

In response to the saline shortage, the Texas EMS Alliance (TEMSA) conducted a survey of Texas EMS agencies to determine how they are responding to the shortage. The online survey was conducted between January 25, 2018 and February 1, 2018.  Twenty-three EMS agencies responded to the survey. Details regarding the sample can be found in the first chart below.

Four charts outlining the results have been included below.  (Scroll through the entire page to view the results.)

In addition, TEMSA asked respondents to share strategies that they have been using to address the shortage. Some of the highlights include:

  • “We have implemented saline management. If we determine that the patient is not hypovolemic, then we will place IV locks. We also have stocked up on vials of saline to make our own flushes in case of an emergency.”
  • “We utilize best practices, which is ‘conserve.’ Fluids are only being administered to the most critical patients, specifically those with sepsis, diabetic ketoacidosis, or profound hyoptension.”
  • “We have restricted the use of saline drips to critical trauma or critical medical events only. All other IV access should use locks. We enforce this through QA.”
  • “We rely on medical directives from the medical director to limit the use of saline to mitigate any issues.”
  • “Our agency has always used saline locks for the majority of patients. But this is a culture change for many agencies out there.”
  • “We have partnered with the hospital to protect our supply.”
  • “We prioritize the IV lock. The IV solution hangs at 250 ml or 500 ml (not 1,000 ml), unless large fluid bolts are necessary.”

Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) shared guidance from the federal government on the issue: Gonzalez Saline Shortage Letter

In addition, Baxter released an update on the saline shortage issue (click here).