Beginning IV Therapy and Flow Rate/ Learn
Elizabeth Bodman, Austin Community College

IV Solutions

Now let's consider the types of fluids you will find in the IV bags. Some of these solutions may be found in either large or small IV bags.

First, there are saline solutions. These fluids contain a specific percentage of the electrolytes sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl-). The common types of plain saline solutions are:

  1. Sodium chloride 0.45%

  2. Sodium chloride 0.9%
Normal Saline and Half Normal Saline IV Bags
Normal Saline and Half Normal Saline IV Bags
We commonly refer to these solutions in several ways:
  • Sometimes the abbreviations for sodium and chloride are used so you will see Na+ and Cl-.
  • The 0.9% solution may simply be called "normal saline", abbreviated NS.
  • The 0.45% solution may be referred to as "half normal saline" (since 0.45% is half of 0.9%) and abbreviated 1/2 NS.


Some solutions contain fluid, electrolytes and some calories in the form of carbohydrates. The carbohydrate used is dextrose, which will be abbreviated as "D". Fluid types and the abbreviations used for each inlcude:

  • 5% dextrose in 0.45% saline: D half normal or D5 1/2NS
  • 5% dextrose in 0.9% saline: D5 normal or D5NS
  • 10% dextrose in 0.9% saline: D10 normal or D10NS


D5W IV Bag


There are also solutions which provide fluid replacement and some calories (dextrose) but no electrolytes (no Na or Cl).
Examples include:

  • 5% dextrose in water, abbreviated D5W
  • 10% dextrose in water, abbreviated D10W

Some solutions have more electrolytes than the simple saline solutions. The electrolytes potassium (K) and calcium (Ca) may be added. Two types of such solutions include:


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