Because of the risk of inducing hyperchloraemic acidosis in routine practice, when crystalloid resuscitation or replacement is indicated, balanced salt solutions e.g. Ringer’s lactate/acetate or Hartmann’s solution should replace 0.9% saline, except in cases of hypochloraemia e.g. from vomiting or gastric drainage.
Solutions such as 4%/0.18% dextrose/saline and 5% dextrose are important sources of free water for maintenance, but should be used with caution as excessive amounts may cause dangerous hyponatraemia, especially in children and the elderly. These solutions are not appropriate for resuscitation or replacement therapy except in conditions of significant free water deficit e.g. diabetes insipidus.
To meet maintenance requirements, adult patients should receive sodium 50-100 mmol/day, potassium 40-80 mmol/day in 1.5-2.5 litres of water by the oral, enteral or parenteral route (or a combination of routes). Additional amounts should only be given to correct deficit or continuing losses. Careful monitoring should be undertaken using clinical examination, fluid balance charts, and regular weighing when possible.
In patients without disorders of gastric emptying undergoing elective surgery clear non-particulate oral fluids should not be withheld for more than two hours prior to the induction of anaesthesia...


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