0.45% Versus 0.9% Saline in 5% Dextrose as Maintenance Fluids in Children Admitted With Acute Illness: A Randomized Control Trial

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2022 Sep 1;38(9):436-441. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000002621. Epub 2022 Jan 26.


Background: The safety of giving intravenous (IV) maintenance fluids according to Holliday and Segar's recommendations of 1957 has recently been questioned after reports of complications caused by iatrogenic hyponatremia in children receiving hypotonic fluids. However, the current practice of choice of maintenance IV fluids for hospitalized children varies worldwide. This study was planned to compare 0.45% and 0.9% saline in 5% dextrose at standard maintenance rates in hospitalized children aged 3 months to 12 years.

Objective: Primary objective was to study change in serum sodium level at 24 hours in children receiving total IV fluid maintenance therapy as 0.45% or 0.9% normal saline in 5% dextrose. Secondary objectives of this study were to estimate change in serum sodium levels from the baseline to 48 or 72 hours, if IV fluids were continued, and to find incidence of hyponatremia and hypernatremia after administering these 2 types of maintenance fluids.

Methods: This study was an open-label, randomized control trial conducted at the Department of Pediatrics of a tertiary care hospital from July 22, 2019, to October 28, 2019. Two hundred children aged 3 months to 12 years admitted in pediatric emergency and requiring IV maintenance fluid were randomized into 2 groups (group A received 0.45% saline in 5% dextrose, group B received 0.9% normal saline in 5% dextrose) with 100 in each group.

Results: Both groups were comparable for baseline characteristics. Fall in mean serum sodium from baseline was more with increasing duration of IV fluids until 24 hours in 0.45% saline group as compared with 0.9% saline group, which was statistically significant (P < 0.001). The incidence of mild and moderate hyponatremia was significantly more in hypotonic group at 12 hours (P < 0.001) and 24 hours (P < 0.001). However, there was no significant difference at 48 hours.

Conclusions: The fall in serum sodium values was significant, and there was significant risk of hyponatremia with the use of hypotonic fluids at 12 and 24 hours. Hence, the use of isotonic fluids seems to be more appropriate among the hospitalized children.Trial Registration: CTRI/2019/10/021791.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Child
  • Fluid Therapy / adverse effects
  • Glucose / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hyponatremia* / chemically induced
  • Hyponatremia* / prevention & control
  • Hypotonic Solutions / adverse effects
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Isotonic Solutions / therapeutic use
  • Saline Solution
  • Sodium


  • Hypotonic Solutions
  • Isotonic Solutions
  • Saline Solution
  • Sodium
  • Glucose