Hypotonic Solution

In an adult, water makes up about 60% of your body weight but this can vary depending on body, fat, age and sex. A significant percentage of this water is found in the cells. The blood usually regulates the water in your body and in some cases, this can be affected by certain conditions and this is why intravenous fluids are administered. The fluids are administered in order to replace the water that has been lost through sweating and urination. They also come in handy in situations where an individual is not able to take in fluids. Body fluids can also be lost due to surgery, diarrhea and vomiting. The effects of the intravenous fluids on the body depend on its concentration and a hypotonic solution can be used to deal with dehydration.

A hypotonic solution has a different effect on plant and animal cells. This solution usually has a higher water potential. Water enters into a cell through osmosis. A cellulose cell wall is more permeable compared to a plasma membrane and this means that there are more dissolved substances that are able to get in. As the water gets in, the cell increases in size and its contents are pushed towards the wall. In a plant cell, the walls are very strong and this means that it cannot burst even if a lot of water gets in. A plant cells will prevent too much expansion of the wall by creating some opposing pressure that will prevent more water from getting in. The cell becomes very rigid in this case. For an animal cell, if too much water gets in, it can cause it to burst. This is why a lot of care is used when using a hypotonic solution as an intravenous fluid.

A hypotonic solution usually consists of 0.25% saline or 0.45 saline. This solution can have dextrose or not. If it is a low concentration, potassium chloride can be included in the solution. When this type of solution is administered, there is more water being introduced in the cells and vessels. When this water starts to enter the body, the cells begin to swell. If the swelling is not checked, it can result in inflammation. When a hypotonic solution is used as an intravenous fluid a medical professional has to keep checking for discomfort, swelling and coolness.

A hypotonic solution can result in a drastic shift in fluids in the blood vessels and the cells and this can cause a collapse in the cardiovascular system. The collapse occurs because if the intravascular fluid is depleted and there is an increase in intracranial pressure. This means that this solution is not suitable for people who are prone to intracranial pressure when there is fluid shift in the brain cells. The solution is not recommended for patients who are suffering from head trauma, cerebrovascular accidents and those who have gone through neurosurgery. People who suffer from trauma, burns, liver diseases and malnutrition, the solution is not supposed to be administered for a long time. If the patient can meet his fluids needs after an operation, this solution may not be necessary.