Effect of normal saline and half normal saline on serum electrolytes during recovery phase of diabetic ketoacidosis. (Stockwell)

Basnet S, Venepalli PK, Andoh J, Verhulst S, Koirala J. Effect of normal saline and half normal saline on serum electrolytes during recovery phase of diabetic ketoacidosis. J Intensive Care Med. 2014 Jan-Feb;29(1):38-42.

Objective: This study aims to describe the effect of 0.9% saline (NS) versus 0.45% saline (half NS) when used during recovery phase of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in children.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of all children (1-18 years old) with DKA admitted in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) from 2005 to 2009 was undertaken. The primary end point was effect on serum electrolytes and acidosis.

Results: Compared to 47 patients who received only NS (group A) throughout the recovery period and 33 patients who received NS but were switched to half NS (group B) at some point during recovery, 41 who received only half NS (group C) had a significant decrease in corrected serum sodium (P < .01). Hyperchloremia leading to nonanion gap acidosis was significantly greater in NS groups A and B than in half NS group C (P < .01). This led to increased duration of insulin infusion and length of stay in the PICU in the NS groups.

Conclusions: Hyperchloremia resulting in nonanion gap acidosis can occur and may prolong the duration of insulin infusion and length of PICU stay in patients receiving NS as post-bolus rehydration fluid. Alternatively, the use of half NS may result in a decrease in serum-corrected sodium. Providers need to be vigilant toward this while using higher or lower sodium chloride when managing children with DKA. Larger trials are required to study the clinical significance of the results of this study.

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