IV Fluids and Solutions Quick Reference Guide Cheat Sheet

Intravenous Solutions are used in fluid replacement therapy by changing the composition of the serum by adding fluids and electrolytes. Listed below is a table which may serve as your quick reference guide on the different intravenous solutions.

You can also download the document at: IV Solution Cheat Sheet.docx

Normal Saline (NS)0.9% NaCl in Water Crystalloid SolutionIsotonic (308 mOsm)Increases circulating plasma volume when red cells are adequate
  • Replaces losses without altering fluid concentrations.
  • Helpful for Na+ replacement
1/2 Normal Saline (1/2 NS)0.45% NaCl in Water Crystalloid SolutionHypotonic (154 mOsm)Raises total fluid volume
  • Useful for daily maintenance of body fluid, but is of less value for replacement of NaCldeficit.
  • Helpful for establishing renal function.
  • Fluid replacement for clients who don’t need extra glucose (diabetics)
Lactated Ringer’s (LR)Normal saline with electrolytes and bufferIsotonic (275 mOsm)Replaces fluid and buffers pH
  • Normal saline with K+, Ca++, and lactate (buffer)
  • Often seen with surgery
D5WDextrose 5% in water Crystalloid solutionIsotonic (in the bag) *Physiologically hypotonic (260 mOsm)Raises  total fluid volume.Helpful in rehydrating and excretory purposes.
  • Provides 170-200 calories/1,000cc for energy.
  • Physiologically hypotonic -the dextrose is metabolized quickly so that only water remains – a hypotonic fluid
D5NSDextrose 5% in 0.9% salineHypertonic (560 mOsm)Replaces fluid sodium, chloride, and calories.
  • Watch for fluid volume overload
D5 1/2 NSDextrose 5% in 0.45% salineHypertonic (406 mOsm)Useful for daily maintenance of body fluids and nutrition, and for rehydration.
  • Most common postoperative fluid
D5LRDextrose 5% in Lactated Ringer’sHypertonic (575 mOsm)Same as LR plus provides about 180 calories per 1000cc’s.
  • Watch for fluid volume overload
Normosol-RNormosolIsotonic (295 mOsm)Replaces fluid and buffers pH
  • pH 7.4
  • Contains sodium, chloride, calcium, potassium and magnesium
  • Common fluid for OR and PACU



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