The purpose of this study was to describe the administration of 3% saline (3%S) during pediatric critical care transport.
A retrospective study was performed on pediatric patients who underwent critical transport to Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital from January 1, 2003, to June 30, 2007, and were given 3%S. Patients’ demographics, admission diagnosis, route and amount of 3%S administration, serum electrolytes, vital signs, radiographic data, and Glasgow Coma Scale scores were collected and analyzed.
A total of 101 children who received 3%S infusions during pediatric critical care transport were identified. Mean patient age was 5.9 years, and mean patient weight was 27.6 kg. The main indications for infusing 3%S were suspected cerebral edema (41%), intracranial bleed with edema (51%), and symptomatic hyponatremia (6%). The amount of 3%S bolus ranged from 1.2 to 24 mL/kg, with a mean of 5.4 mL/kg. Serum electrolytes before and after 3%S infusion demonstrated significant increases in sodium, chloride, and bicarbonate levels (P < 0.05). A significant reduction was also seen in serum urea nitrogen levels and anion gap. Radiographic imaging performed before 3%S infusion demonstrated findings consistent with concerns of increased intracranial pressure such as intracranial bleed and cerebral edema. The route of initial 3%S infusions was mainly through peripheral intravenous lines (96%). No complications related to the 3%S delivery such as local reactions, renal abnormalities, or central pontine myelinolysis were observed.
It seems 3%S may be administered safely during pediatric critical transport and administration routes can include peripheral lines. With the importance of initiating therapy early to improve patient outcomes, the use of 3%S may benefit transported children with brain injury and suspected intracranial hypertension.