Reactions which may occur because of the solution or the technique of administration include febrile response, infection at the site of injection, venous thrombosis or phlebitis extending from the site of injection, extravasation and hypervolemia.
Symptoms may result from an excess or deficit of one or more of the ions present in the solution; therefore, frequent monitoring of electrolyte levels is essential.
Reactions reported with the use of potassium-containing solutions include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. The signs and symptoms of potassium intoxication include paresthesias of the extremities, areflexia, muscular or respiratory paralysis, mental confusion, weakness, hypotension, cardiac arrhythmias, heart block, electrocardiographic abnormalities and cardiac arrest. Potassium deficits result in disruption of neuromuscular function, and intestinal ileus and dilatation.
If infused in large amounts, chloride ions may cause a loss of bicarbonate ions, resulting in an acidifying effect.
Dextrose may be administered at a rate of 0.5 g/kg/hour without producing glycosuria. Hyperglycemia and glycosuria may be a function of rate of administration or metabolic insufficiency. Appropriate therapy may include slowing of the infusion rate and administration of insulin.
The physician should also be alert to the possibility of adverse reactions to drug additives. Prescribing information for drug additives to be administered in this manner should be consulted.
If an adverse reaction does occur, discontinue the infusion, evaluate the patient, institute appropriate therapeutic countermeasures and save the remainder of the fluid for examination if deemed necessary.