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Hyponatraemia and hypokalaemia during intravenous fluid administration


Background: Hospital-acquired hyponatraemia is associated with excessive volumes of hypotonic intravenous fluids and can cause death or permanent neurological deficit.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was carried out in 17 hospitals on all children receiving intravenous fluids during 1 day of a specified week in December 2004.

Results: 77 of 99 children receiving intravenous fluids received hypotonic solutions and 38% received >105% of fluid requirements. 21 of 86 children were hyponatraemic, but the electrolytes of only 79% had been checked in the preceding 48 h.

Conclusions: Intravenous fluids should be used with caution as regards the tonicity and volume administered, and with appropriate monitoring of serum electrolytes.

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