Prevention of hospital-acquired hypokalemia in children receiving maintenance fluid therapy


Objective: It has been suggested that the use of hypotonic intravenous fluid (IVF) puts hospitalized children at a greater risk of developing hyponatremia in children with increased arginine vasopressin (AVP) production. To reduce its risk, the National Patient Safety Agency in UK issued alert 22 in 2007, of which recommendations were to use isotonic solutions for these children at risk of hyponatremia, instead of the previously most commonly used IVF (0.18% saline/ 4% dextrose) for maintenance fluid therapy. Recent observations, however, revealed that hypokalemia are also common in hospitalized patients who do not receive potassium in their IVF. This study was conducted to validate the potassium added IVF for the prevention of hospital-acquired hypokalemia in maintenance fluid therapy. Design: For maintenance fluid therapy, a commercially available IVF solution in Japan named as Solita-T2R (Na 84 mmol/L, K 20 mmol/L, Cl 66 mmol/L, glucose 3.2%) was infused for 41 sick children with a median age of 3.01 years. Its composition is close equivalent to 0.45% saline/5% dextrose (Na 77 mmol/L, K 0 mmol/L, Cl 77 mmol/L, dextrose 5%) except K content. The patients in states of AVP excess were excluded from the analysis. Results: Median serum potassium value did not drop significantly at a median interval of 48 hours (before IVF: 4.30 mmol/L, after IVF: 4.10 mmol/L, p > 0.05), whereas median serum sodium level significantly increased from 136.0 mmol/L to 139.0 mmol/L (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Potassium added (20 mmol/L) IVF solution reduces the risk of developing “hospital-acquired hypokalemia” in children who are not in states of AVP excess in maintenance fluid therapy. It is worthwhile to study prospectively in a larger number of sick children.

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Kaneko, K. , Yoshimura, K. , Kimata, T. , Ishii, K. , Kitao, T. , Tanaka, S. and Tsuji, S. (2012) Prevention of hospital-acquired hypokalemia in children receiving maintenance fluid therapy. Open Journal of Pediatrics, 2, 138-142. doi: 10.4236/ojped.2012.22023.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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