Maintenance intravenous fluids (IVFs) are commonly used in the hospital setting. Hypotonic IVFs are commonly used in pediatrics despite concerns about high incidence of hyponatremia. We aimed to increase isotonic maintenance IVF use in children admitted from the emergency department (ED) from a baseline of 20% in 2018 to >80% by December 2019.
We included patients aged 28 days to 18 years receiving maintenance IVFs (rate >10 mL/hour) at the time of admission. Patients with active chronic medical problems were excluded. Interventions included institutional discussions on isotonic IVF based on literature review, education on isotonic IVF use per the American Academy of Pediatrics guideline (isotonic IVF use with appropriate potassium chloride and dextrose), electronic medical record changes to encourage isotonic IVF use, and group practice review with individual physician audit and feedback. Balancing measures were the frequency of serum electrolyte checks within 24 hours of ED admission and occurrence of hypernatremia. Data were analyzed by using statistical process control charts.
Isotonic maintenance IVF use improved, with special cause observed twice; the 80% goal was met and sustained. No difference was noted in serum electrolyte checks within 24 hours of admission ( > .05). There was no increase in occurrence of hypernatremia among patients who received isotonic IVF compared with those who received hypotonic IVF ( > .05).
The application of improvement methods resulted in improved isotonic IVF use in ED patients admitted to the inpatient setting. Institutional readiness for change at the time of the American Academy of Pediatrics guideline release and hardwiring of preferred fluids via electronic medical record changes were critical to success.

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