The pharmacology of crystalloid solutions depends primarily on their salt content and osmolality ( Tab!®.!). The sodium content of 0.9 per cent saline is equivalent to that of extracellular fluid with which it is isotonic. It follows that infusion of isotonic saline solutions (0.9 per cent saline, Hartmann's solution) will distribute within both the intravascular and interstitial spaces in proportion to their respective volumes. Approximately 20 to 25 per cent of infused 0.9 per cent saline will remain intravascular.

Table 1 Ion content, pH, and osmolality of crystalloids

Glucose is provided in non-salt-containing solutions to maintain isotonicity only. Thus 5 per cent glucose is a method of providing intravenous water and will distribute throughout the fluid-containing spaces in proportion to their respective volumes. Only approximately 10 per cent of infused 5 per cent glucose will remain intravascular.

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