Fluid therapy is intended to maintain the normal volume and composition of body fluids and, if needed, to correct any existing abnormalities. In children, the most common abnormality is hypovolemia.
Volume depletion occurs when fluid is lost from the extracellular space at a rate that exceeds intake. The most common sites for extracellular fluid loss are:
- Gastrointestinal tract (eg, diarrhea, vomiting, bleeding)
- Skin (eg, fever, burns)
- Urine (eg, glucosuria, diuretic therapy, diabetes insipidus)
In addition, hypovolemia can result from prolonged inadequate intake without excessive losses.
Children are at increased risk for hypovolemia for the following reasons: