The Three Types of Hydration Therapy

Some healthcare concepts may sound like scientific jargon, but they actually save lives. That’s the case with hydration therapy. Check out the different types of hydrating solutions and when to use them.

Which solution you administer to a patient depends on whether you want to CHANGE or MAINTAIN body fluid status.

When two solutions are separated by a semipermeable membrane, water will travel through it from the low solute concentration solution to the high solute concentration solution.

That’s the basic scientific process behind hydration therapy. Its practice is divided into three different hydrating solutions: isotonic, hypotonic, and hypertonic.

Isotonic Solution

Expands the intravascular compartment only. Water remains in the intravascular compartment because the solution osmolarity is equal to that of the plasma.

Common clinical conditions to use it:

Hypovolemia, hypotension, some cases of vomiting or diarrhea, burns, and mild metabolic acidosis.

Hypotonic Solution

Shifts fluid out of the intravascular compartment, hydrating the intracellular and interstitial compartments. Its osmolarity is lower than that of the plasma.

Common clinical conditions to use it:

Cellular dehydration and some cases of vomiting or diarrhea.

Hypertonic Solution

Draws fluid into the intravascular compartment from the intracellular and interstitial compartments. The osmolarity is greater than that of the plasma.

Common clinical conditions to use it:

Edema and fluid overload.

You can save lives by quickly identifying which type of hydration therapy to use.
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