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Background: Hyperlactatemia can predict the prognosis of patients undergoing liver resection. The effects of lactated Ringer's solution on liver function have not been evaluated in patients undergoing major liver resection. We therefore compared the effects of two different crystalloid solutions, with and without lactate, on liver function test data and serum lactate level in living donors undergoing right hepatectomy. Methods: A total of 104 donors undergoing right hepatectomy for liver transplantation were randomly allocated to receive lactated Ringer's (LR) solution (n=52) or Plasmalyte (n=52). Anesthetic and fluid management were standardized. Acid–base status, lactate concentration, and liver function tests were analyzed at predetermined time points during the first 5 post-operative days. Results: The lactate concentrations were significantly higher in the LR group than in the Plasmalyte group 1 h after hepatectomy [4.2 (3.2–5.7) vs. 3.3 (2.6–4.6) mmol/l; P=0.005, median (interquartile ranges)]. In addition, the nadir concentration of albumin was significantly lower and the peak total bilirubin concentration and prothrombin time were significantly higher in the LR group compared with the Plasmalyte group. However, these changes in the LR group subsided within the first or second post-operative days, without apparent complications or prolongation of hospital stay. Post-operative peak concentrations of lactate were not correlated with nadir albumin concentration, peak bilirubin, or peak prothrombin time, in either group. Conclusion: This prospective randomized study showed that non-lactate-containing crystalloid solution may have important advantages over LR solution, concerning lactate and liver profiles, in living donors undergoing right hepatectomy.