Closing the Fluid Gap: Improving Isotonic Maintenance Intravenous Fluid Use in a Community Hospital Network

Pediatr Qual Saf. 2023 Oct 7;8(5):e696. doi: 10.1097/pq9.0000000000000696. eCollection 2023 Sep-Oct.


Introduction: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using isotonic intravenous fluids (IVF) for maintenance needs to decrease the risk of hyponatremia. We conducted a quality improvement project to increase the use of isotonic maintenance IVF in pediatric patients admitted to three sites in a community hospital network to >85% within 12 months.

Methods: We used improvement methodology to identify causes of continued hypotonic fluid use, which involved provider behavior and systems factors. We implemented interventions to address these factors including: (1) education; (2) clinical decision support; and (3) stocking automated medication dispensing systems with isotonic IVF. We compared isotonic IVF use before and after interventions in all admitted patients aged 28 days to 18 years who received maintenance IVFs at the rate of at least 10 mL/hour. We excluded admissions of patients with active chronic medical conditions like diabetic ketoacidosis. Balancing measures were the occurrence of adverse events from hypo- or hypernatremia. Data were analyzed using Laney P' statistical process control charts.

Results: Isotonic IVF use among patients requiring maintenance fluids at all three sites surpassed the goal of >85% within 12 months. There were no reports of hypo- or hypernatremia or other adverse outcomes related to the use of isotonic IVF.

Conclusion: A combination of interventions aimed at provider behavior and systems factors was critical to successfully adopting the American Academy of Pediatrics guideline regarding the use of maintenance isotonic IVF in hospitalized children.