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Previous models comparing normal saline (NS) with lactated Ringer's solution (LR) for resuscitation use only mild or moderate hemorrhage and do not address the clinical situation of massive hemorrhage and resuscitation (MHR). This work compares NS and LR by using a new rat model of MHR.NS and LR were compared by using both a traditional model of moderate pressure-controlled hemorrhage and a model of MHR. Moderate hemorrhage animals were bled to mean arterial pressure (MAP) = 60 mm Hg x 2 hour then resuscitated with crystalloid (NS or LR) for 1 hour. MHR animals were bled at a rate of 1 estimated blood volume (EBV) per hour for 2 hours with simultaneous resuscitation by using washed red blood cells (B) and crystalloid (LR+B or NS+B). MAP was kept at 60 mm Hg during the 2 hours of hemorrhage. Bleeding was then stopped, and animals were resuscitated for 1 additional hour with blood and crystalloid to MAP more than 90 mm Hg or until 10x EBV was given. Group means were compared with Student's t test (p < 0.01 significant) and 2-week survival rates were compared by using Fisher's exact test (p < 0.05 significant).The moderate hemorrhage group was bled 36% of EBV. In this setting, resuscitation with NS and LR was equivalent. The final hematocrit, pH, and base excess were not different, and all animals survived in both groups. MHR animals were bled 218% of EBV. Animals resuscitated with NS+B were significantly more acidotic than animals resuscitated with equal volumes of LR+B (pH 7.14 +/- .06 vs. 7.39 +/- .04, respectively) and had significantly worse survival (50% vs. 100%, respectively).With moderate hemorrhage, NS and LR are equivalent, but in the setting of massive hemorrhage and resuscitation, significantly more physiologic derangement and mortality occurs with NS than LR. LR is superior to NS for use in massive resuscitation.