Normal Saline

The need-to-know information about Normal Saline

Normal Saline

Pearls and Fun Nuggets

1. The term “normal saline” doesn’t actually make sense 🙊 It appears to have little historical basis, except for studies done in 1882–83 by Dutch physiologist Hartog Jacob Hamburger; these in vitro studies of red cell lysis suggested incorrectly that 0.9% was the concentration of salt in human blood (rather than 0.6%, the true concentration).[30]

2. There are better crystalloid solutions out there 😐. The 2018 publication of a randomized, controlled trial with 15,000 people showed that lactated Ringer’s solution reduced mortality risk of people in intensive care unit by 1% compared to normal saline, which given the large number of people is a significant reduction.[31]

3. When in doubt, use….Coconut water? 😕 During WWII, some physicians administered coconut water intravenously when normal saline was unavailable.  Its use, however, has not been well studied.[32]

4. Saline is also often used for nasal washes 👃 The solution exerts a softening and loosening influence on the mucus to make it easier to wash out and clear the nasal passages for both babies[15] and adults.[16][17]

Patient Perspectives

I was given a 1 liter bag of normal saline for heat exhaustion and it helped me feel a lot better.  About the same as drinking a liter of water, but works quicker.  Helpful when you can’t keep fluids down.  

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