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Commercialised portable intravenous fluids in sports: placing vulnerable athletes at risk
  1. Morteza Khodaee1,
  2. Bradley G Changstrom2,
  3. Martin D Hoffman3,4,5
  1. 1 Department of Family Medicine & Orthopedics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado, USA
  2. 2 Department of Internal Medicine & Orthopedics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  3. 3 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of California Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, California, USA
  4. 4 Department of Veterans Affairs, NorthernCalifornia Health Care System, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service, Sacramento, California, USA
  5. 5 Ultra Sports Science Foundation, El Dorado Hills, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Morteza Khodaee, Department of Family Medicine & Orthopedics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver CO 80238, USA; morteza.khodaee{at}

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Provision of intravenous fluids outside of medical facilities has become an expanding business in the USA, and for several years has been marketed for pre-event and postevent hydration at various sporting events, including mass events like marathons.1 These ‘for-purchase on-demand’ intravenous services are marketed to enhance performance and postevent recovery. Typically administered in a tent or a mobile station by a nurse under the licensure of a physician, little or no preintervention medical assessment is involved.

Oral versus intravenous fluids

Since the composition of intravenous fluids can be easily reproduced in oral solutions, the benefit of intravenous fluids lies in circumventing delays with absorption of oral fluids.2 These delays can be strictly related to intestinal absorption in a healthy athlete or delays related to gastrointestinal distress (eg, vomiting or diarrhoea) in an ill athlete. Intravascular plasma volume expansion with intravenous fluids in a healthy athlete is only transiently increased when compared with oral rehydration and the benefit probably lasts for 35 min or less.2 …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.