Pediatric fluid and electrolyte therapy

J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Oct;14(4):204-11. doi: 10.5863/1551-6776-14.4.204.


Managing fluids and electrolytes in children is an important skill for pharmacists, who can play an important role in monitoring therapy. Fluid therapy is divided into maintenance, deficit, and replacement requirements. The Holliday-Segar equation remains the standard method for calculating maintenance fluid requirements. Accounting for deficits when determining the fluid infusion rate is an important factor in treating dehydrated patients; deficit fluid is generally administered over the first 24 hours of hospitalization. Maintenance electrolyte requirements must be taken into account, with particular attention paid to sodium requirements, as recent evidence suggests that sodium needs in hospitalized children are higher than originally thought. Fluid therapy can also have an impact on drug therapy. Hydration status can affect the dose needed to achieve therapeutic concentrations, and dehydrated patients may be at risk for toxicity if standard doses of drugs with high volumes of distribution are used. Monitoring fluid and electrolyte therapy is an important role of the pediatric pharmacist.

Keywords: electrolytes; fluid therapy; pediatrics.