A physiological approach to fluid and electrolyte management of the preterm infant: Review


Despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of preterm infants receive parenteral fluids each year, study of optimal fluid and electrolyte management in this population is limited. Compared to older children and adults, preterm infants have an impaired capacity to regulate water and electrolyte balance. Appropriate fluid and electrolyte management is critical for optimal care of low birth weight or sick infants, as fluid overload and electrolyte abnormalities pose significant morbidity. This review highlights basic physiological principles which need to be applied when prescribing parenteral fluids and builds upon published literature to outline a rational approach to initial fluid and electrolyte management of the preterm infant.

*Corresponding Author: 

Jeffrey L. Segar, M.D. Professor, Department of Pediatrics Medical College of Wisconsin 999 North 92nd St, Suite C410, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA. Tel.: +1 414 337 7702; Fax: +1 414 266 6979; E-mail: jsegar@mcw.edu.