Parenteral fluid administration has been definitely established in the past three decades as a major therapeutic measure in preserving life and lessening morbidity in a great variety of pathologic states. These conditions include patients in both the so-called medical and surgical categories who present a common background of dehydration, starvation and acid-base imbalance. The value of this form of therapy lies in the ability to administer necessary fluid, electrolytes, and nutrients to patients in whom the normal gastro-intestinal function is temporarily in abeyance or relatively unable to supply the organism with adequate amounts. Ordinarily, the procedure has been carried on for short periods ranging from a few hours to a few days, but cases have been recorded of practically complete parenteral nutrition over a period of several weeks. The routes most commonly used are the intravenous and subcutaneous, but under special conditions the intraperitoneal, intrathecal, and intra-medullary routes have also been utilized. The intravenous route is by far the most practical of these since it is readily available, and its use offers a minimum of discomfort to the patient. Since the infused fluid becomes quickly diluted in the veins, it is possible to administer both hypertonic and isotonic solutions with a considerable range in hydrogen ion concentration both above and below the plasma level. Fluids used subcutaneously must be isotonic and adjusted to a normal hydrogen ion concentration of tissue fluid in order to prevent local tissue irritation and damage.
The aims of parenteral fluid therapy are multiple, but largely. . .